Concerns over domestic violence and a recent spike in burglaries and thefts in Southland have not deterred southern police from aiming to reduce crime by 15 per cent in the next three years.
Southland area commander Inspector Lane Todd yesterday said recorded crime in Southland had dipped 24 per cent in the past three financial years - from 10,013 recorded crimes in 2009 to 7648 in 2012.
Crime figures had been relatively static for several years until 2009, and Mr Todd said the reduction had coincided with the proactive policing scheme introduced that year.
Police in the entire southern district - including Otago rural and Dunedin which both recorded greater crime reductions than Southland last financial year - were now focused on reducing crime by 15 per cent in the next three years, Mr Todd said.
They also aimed to reduce the number of cases going through the courts by 19 per cent in the next three years. Given the positive results in the last three years, Mr Todd was confident the aims were attainable.
The latest initiative was putting an emphasis on preventing crime before it happened and the aim was to have 4 per cent of police staff working purely on crime prevention, he said.
This included increasing the focus on family violence, which remained a concern in Southland.
Police were identifying repeat victims of family violence, finding out why it was happening, and working to prevent those people from being revictimised.
This included cold-calling on repeat offenders during the day, when they were not fuelled by alcohol and drugs, and giving them some advice, Mr Todd said.
Also of concern to police was the increase in thefts from unlocked cars and, to a lesser extent, burglaries in the past couple of months.
Police were pamphlet-dropping households in affected areas to ensure people locked their vehicles.
Southland police were working more closely with government agencies and community groups and Mr Todd said he was particularly pleased they had resolved 59.3 per cent of recorded crimes in 2012.
This compared favourably to the national average resolution rate of 47.6 per cent.
A 2012 national survey showed 80 per cent of southerners had lots of confidence or full confidence in their police; ranking the southern district third highest of New Zealand's 12 police districts.
- The Southland Times
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