Criminal offences dropped by 7.4 per cent in the past year, although sexual assault offences rose by 10.8 per cent, while illicit drug offences dropped 20.6 per cent.
Statistics New Zealand figures out today show there were 365,185 recorded offences in the year to the end of June, compared to 394,522 a year earlier.
Ten of the 12 police districts recorded falls in recorded crime, with Auckland having the biggest reduction at 16.8 per cent, followed by Wellington at 13.6 per cent and Waitemata at 13.3 per cent.
Police Deputy Commissioner Viv Rickard said the 10.8 per cent rise in sexual assault offences was likely to be a result of greater trust and confidence in police rather than a spike in offending.
“We believe that historically sexual violence is under-reported to authorities,” Rickard said.
“Police are heartened that victims of this type of crime are coming forward and we want to assure them that police take all complaints of sexual violence seriously.”
The 20.6 per cent drop in illicit drug offences was mostly in cannabis cultivation and possession. There were increases in several dealing categories including conspiring to deal methamphetamine.
“Our intelligence indicates that the price of methamphetamine remains high but steady which indicates that supply is stable,” Rickard said.
“Unfortunately methamphetamine is not going away. Police will continue to commit resources to disrupt supply and reduce the harm these drugs cause.”
Dwelling assaults rose by 1 per cent with 25,167 offences in the latest financial year.
While the family violence category had not been included in official statistics since the 2011 calendar year, the dwelling assaults category did provide one indicator of family violence that occurred in the home.
“Family violence continues to be a serious problem in New Zealand,” Rickard said.
Police had made many improvements to the way they worked with families suffering from violence, and would continue to work to enhance its service to those families and strive to bring offenders to account.
Given a 0.5 per cent growth in population, the overall 7.4 per cent drop in offences, meant that per head of population offending dropped by 7.9 per cent.
Rickard said the figures were a credit to police staff committed to making New Zealand communities safer. Recent significant technological changes, including the introduction of mobile devices for front-line staff, were also having a major effect on crime prevention, Rickard said.
Recorded crime in the Canterbury police district grew by 5.4 per cent but remained well below pre-earthquake levels. The 42,722 offences recorded in the 2012/13 year were 20.5 per cent lower than the number of offences committed in the 2009/10 year.
“Our challenge in Canterbury is to maintain the positive gains we’ve made in the post-earthquake environment through proactive policing and a focus on crime prevention,” Rickard said.
In terms of criminal categories, unlawful entry and burglary dropped by 10.1 per cent, theft reduced by 9.2 per cent, robbery, extortion and related offences were down 8.2 per cent, property damage was down 6.1 per cent and fraud, deception and related offences fell by 5.1 per cent.
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