Crime hits record low nationwide

Last updated 12:18 01/04/2014

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Recorded crime across New Zealand has dropped to a record low, police say.

Figures released today by Statistics New Zealand showed there were 15,602 fewer crimes recorded in 2013 than in 2012.

Taking into account population growth of 0.9 per cent meant offending per head dropped by five per cent.

It was the lowest crime figure in 29 years, Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush said.

Nine of the 12 police districts recorded decreases in recorded crime. Auckland and Wellington recorded the biggest reductions at 9.9 per cent, Bay of Plenty 7.4 per cent and Southern 6.6 per cent.

Recorded crime in Canterbury fell by 5.6 per cent, recovering from increases that occurred when the Christchurch rebuild began.

The Canterbury results were particularly satisfying, Bush said.

"The significant drop in recorded crime in the district shows we've maintained the positive gains we made in the post-earthquake environment through proactive policing and a strong focus on crime prevention."

Eastern district recorded a 3.4 per cent rise in crime, Central 1.6 per cent and Northland 1.5 percent.

In terms of criminal categories, methamphetamine continued to be a problem.

There was a 59 per cent increase in the import or export illicit drugs offence category, as a result of campaigns against organised crime groups that control New Zealand's methamphetamine trade.

"Unfortunately methamphetamine is not going away," Bush said.

"Police will continue to commit resources to disrupt supply and reduce the harm this drug causes."

There was a 22.7 per cent drop in illicit drug offences, most in cannabis cultivation and possession.

Sexual assault offences rose by 11.6 per cent. This was likely due to increased reporting, Bush said.

"We know that sexual violence is under-reported, and we are heartened that more victims of this type of crime are coming forward."

Dangerous or negligent acts endangering people dropped by 23 per cent and public order offences dropped by 15.7 per cent. Property damage and environmental pollution offences were also down.

Bush attributed the reduction in crime to the police Prevention First strategy, in which foot patrol staff were deployed in communities to prevent crime.

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