Crime continues to drop in the South, with district commander
Superintendent Andrew Coster expecting the downward trend to
Total reported crime across Otago and Southland was down 6.6%
for the year ending December 31 compared with the previous
That reduction, coupled with a 5.2% drop in 2012, meant the
district was one of the safest places in the country in which
to live and visit, Supt Coster said.
Of the 12 police districts, Southern recorded the fourth
biggest reduction behind Auckland, Wellington (both 9.9%) and
Bay of Plenty (7.4%).
Supt Coster said recent changes across the district meant ''I
have got every expectation that those reductions will
Crime reduction was important to police and so was public
perception and ''that is why when we get results we want to
talk about them''.
Supt Coster was particularly pleased with district-wide
reductions in theft (down 8.2%), fraud (down 19%), damage
(down 12.6%), disorder (down 14.3%) and assaults (down 7%),
''all of which are matters of interest to the community''.
When asked why sexual assault and related offences had
doubled during 2013, he replied the figure was skewed by a
Dunedin case where 90 charges of sexually offending were laid
late last year.
Burglaries also recorded a double digit increase (up 15.8%)
across the district, with Supt Coster attributing this to a
change in recording practices.
Police did not wait for year-end statistics to ascertain
where to focus staff, ''but on a daily, weekly, monthly basis
... we take that information and use it to inform the way we
are deploying staff in areas and the district''.
''Our aim is if we are getting an emerging crime trend is to
intervene early, stop offenders from offending before we get
The district had recorded a steady reduction in reported
crime since 2009, mirroring a national trend. Nationwide,
reported crime dropped 4.1% in the last calendar year, with
the 2013 result the lowest crime figure in 29 years, Deputy
Commissioner Mike Bush said.
''We are deploying staff more efficiently and proactively to
ensure police are in the right place at the right time to
prevent crime from occurring.''
Only three police districts had an increase in recorded crime
Eastern (up 3.4%), Central (up 1.6%) and Northland (up 1.5%).
Police Minister Anne Tolley congratulated police on the
falling crime rate.
''I'm confident our police are totally focused on doing even
better for the New Zealand public.''