Overall crime in Otago is dropping, despite a recent spike in
robbery and extortion convictions.
In the year to June 30, 2013 there were 2974 convictions in
Otago and South Canterbury courts - the lowest annual figure
in a decade.
Similarly, the 2614 convictions in Southland and Central
Otago courts during that time also represented the lowest
number in at least 10 years.
Data collated by the Ministry of Justice showed convictions
in the South have been dropping each financial year since
The ministry grouped Timaru, Balclutha, Dunedin and Oamaru
courts in its Otago-South Canterbury cluster and Alexandra,
Queenstown, Invercargill and Gore courts in the
Southland-Central Otago cluster.
Justice Minister Judith Collins said crime throughout New
Zealand was at a 33-year low.
Since June 2011 the total crime rate had fallen 13%, violent
crime had fallen 9% and reoffending was down 11.4%, she said.
Youth crime had reduced by 22%.
Overall conviction numbers in Otago-South Canterbury courts
in the past decade peaked at 4116 in the 2008-09 financial
year, and in Southland-Central Otago the highest number was
3504 in 2009-10.
The only significant recent increases in convictions in the
South were for robbery, extortion and related offences.
There were 17 such convictions in the past financial year in
Otago-South Canterbury, up from eight and nine in the two
previous financial years.
In Southland-Central Otago, there were 11 such convictions in
2012-13, almost double the number of the two previous years
The figures also showed there were a few more homicides
Both court clusters showed four homicide convictions in the
past financial year, compared to zero and four in 2011-12,
and zero and one in 2010-11.
Conviction numbers had remained relatively static for
property damage and environmental pollution, ranging from 149
to 213 each financial year in Otago-South Canterbury and 125
to 177 in Southland-Central Otago.
Weapons convictions were down in both court clusters from a
high in 2009-10, as were drug offences.
In the past financial year just 86 drug convictions were
imposed in Southland-Central Otago courts, following 113 in
2011-12, 187 the previous financial year, and 184 in 2009-10.
In Otago-South Canterbury drug convictions had dropped to 140
and 144 in the past two financial years, from 247 in 2010-11
and 273 in 2009-10.
Sexual offending convictions ranged from 17 to 36 each
financial year in Otago-South Canterbury, and 13 to 26 in
Convictions for dangerous or negligent acts have reduced in
both court clusters by almost 50% since a peak in 2006-07.
Fraud, deception and theft conviction rates have hardly
changed in either court cluster in the past decade, and
neither have burglary convictions.
Convictions in 2012-13 financial
• Robbery, extortion: Otago-South Canterbury (O-SC)
17; Southland-Central Otago (S-CO) 11.
• Unlawful entry, burglary: O-SC 102; S-CO 74.
• Theft: O-SC 286; S-CO 140.
• Fraud, deception: O-SC 94; S-CO 68.
• Abduction, harassment: O-SC 49; S-CO 54.
• Dangerous acts, negligence: O-SC 268; S-CO 200.
• Sexual assault: O-SC 30; S-CO 16.
• Intending injury: O-SC 393; S-CO 395.
• Drugs: O-SC 144; S-CO 86.
• Weapons, explosives: O-SC 46; S-CO 41.
• Property damage, pollution: O-SC 153; S-CO 125.
• Homicide: O-SC 4; S-CO 4.
• Total: O-SC 2974; S-CO 2614.