With total crime dropping 3.5 per cent in Nelson, "the evidence is clear, people are safer and people are feeling safer", area commander Inspector Steve Greally says.
The "celebratory-worthy police figures", released yesterday by Statistics New Zealand, can be attributed to the police's prevention first policy that was put in place two years ago, Greally said.
While sexual offences had increased by more than 73 per cent this was because the Nelson community had more confidence in police so were more inclined to report any offending, irrespective of where it might lead, he said.
People were taking ownership over protecting their community by reporting crime.
"I would much rather more people were being reported than police not knowing what was occurring.
"We are seeing the community is really backing police. That is hugely appreciated by myself and my staff.
"The evidence is clear, people are safer and people are feeling safer."
Sexual assault statistics could be slightly misleading generally, he said
Just because results showed there was more sexual offending, it did not mean there were more victims, but that some offenders attracted multiple charges.
"We do not shy away laying multiple charges. It is the right thing to do to hold these offenders to account to reflect the gravity of their offending."
Historical sexual offences were increasingly being brought to light which could profoundly affect statistics also, he said.
This was a win for police, because it meant victims were feeling more comfortable coming to police, despite many years of sexual abuse.
"We are only the icing on the cake, the real heroes are the victims coming to us and taking a stand."
Meanwhile, the focus on alcohol reduction on Nelson's Bridge St, for example, had paid dividends in reducing the serious, grievous and assault statistics, he said.
Pre charge warnings did not skew the statistics because they were concluded within the total crime numbers. They were treated as reported offences, he said.
"It means victims can get their day in court, earlier rather than later."
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