The Police released the latest crime statistics today. These are for the financial year 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2008 and are the last official figures to be released before the election.
The media and some ill informed commentators focus on the overall crime figures. While of some importance, this is ill advised for two reasons.
- Not all crime is equal. Having 1,000 less cannabis crimes and 500 more rapes is a net decrease in crime, but would be a worrying trend.
- There are two sorts of crimes – those recorded when complained about and those recorded when the Police catch someone doing it. The second sort of crime can record an increase because the Police are better resourced and more pro-active and can vice versa decrease merely because the Police have not been so pro-active or successful in policing that area. Examples of the first sort of crime are assaults, murders, rapes, and most burglaries and thefts. Examples of the second sort are disorder, drugs, gaming, liquor, receiving.
So the overall crime stats and crime rate are not particularly useful as a fall in crime may simply be the result of a decline in police activity.
Hence it is best to focus on the crimes where they are recorded due to a victim or complaintant coming forward. And violent crimes are those most likely to be reported.
And what has happened with violent crime in just the last 12 months? I repeat this is not going back muliple years – this is just the last 12 months:
- The overall number of violent crimes increased by 11.1% or by almost 6,000.
- The number of grievous assaults (the most serious) increased by 11.7%
- The number of homicides increased by 16.7%
- The violent crime rate per 10,000 pop increased by 10.0%
I’ll later blog data all the way back to 1999, but this is again for the last 12 months only. The period where homicides were blamed by the Justice Minister of the moon and the sun.
And what districts have had the biggest violent crime increases. They are:
- Tasman up 23.1%
- Southern up 20.5%
- Bay of Plenty up 17.2%
- Counties-Manukau up 18.9%
- Waikato up 16.8%
Again this is in the last 12 months only.