1 Apr 2014

Crime rate at 30-year low

9:33 pm on 1 April 2014

Fewer crimes are being recorded overall, but there is a significant rise in sexual offending.

Recorded crime is down to what police say is the lowest rate in 29 years. According to the latest figures, it fell by 4.1 percent, from 376,013 instances in 2012 to 360,411 in 2013.

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Nine of the 12 police districts recorded a decrease last year; the exceptions were the eastern, central and Northland districts. Canterbury's rate, which rose when the earthquake rebuild began, fell by 5.6 percent.

Deputy commissioner Mike Bush said on Tuesday that police have been focusing on reducing crime.

"We understand the environment, we understand the drivers and we really deploy our staff to be at the right place at the right time doing the right things, and that makes a huge difference. But it's also working in partnership with many other organisations and sectors."

However, the resolution rate dropped from 47 percent to 43.9 percent last year. Mr Bush said the reduction is an issue and the police will be looking into this.

Nationally, the number of recorded sexual offending is up 11.6 percent.

Rape Prevention Education spokesperson Kim McGregor said it is hard to tell whether the rise is due to victims being more inclined to report it or whether incidents of sexual violence have increased.

Mr Bush said people are not tolerating sexual offending and reporting is increasing, which allows police to make more and better interventions.

The number of drug offences dropped by 22.7 percent. Police say there were fewer cases of cannabis cultivation and possession but a 59 percent rise in the illicit import and export of drugs.