2 Oct 2012

Crime rate drops to lowest on record

5:00 pm on 2 October 2012

The crime rate for the past year is the lowest on record, which police say shows New Zealand is becoming a safer place to live.

In the 2011-12 fiscal year, 394,522 offences were recorded compared with 416,324 the previous year - a drop of 5.2%.

Deputy Police Commissioner Viv Rickard says that is the lowest number in any fiscal year since 1988-89, and the lowest crime rate per head of population since electronic records were first kept in 1995.

However, the number of murders rose by 15% from 34 to 43. Among those were 20 family violence murders, the same number as the previous year.

Mr Rickard says the percentage increase is skewed by the fact that last year's 34 murders was the lowest on record. He says 43 is about average.

Biggest fall in Canterbury

Mr Rickard says the biggest fall in recorded crime was in the Canterbury district, where it dropped 11.7%.

There were also significant falls in the Southern district, Counties Manakau and Bay of Plenty.

Robbery and extortion has fallen throughout the country as has property damage, but drug offences are rising.

Sexual assault and related offences increased by 3.6% though police say sexual offending is known to be significantly under-reported.