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The 2013 recorded crime rate was the lowest in 29 years, police say.
Statistics New Zealand Criminal figures for the year showed offences dropped by 4.1 per cent in the last calendar year, with 15,602 fewer crimes recorded last year than in 2012.
Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush said the 2013 result is the lowest crime figure in 29 years.
"We're delighted with the 4.1 per cent drop," Mr 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."
Nine of the twelve police districts recorded decreases in recorded crime but three were up.
Auckland and Wellington Districts recorded the biggest reductions at 9.9 per cent, followed by Bay of Plenty at 7.4 per cent and Southern at 6.6 per cent.
Recorded crime in the Canterbury district fell by 5.6 per cent, reversing increases that occurred when the Christchurch rebuild began.
"The results in Canterbury are particularly satisfying. The significant drop in recorded crime in the district shows we've maintained the positive gains we made in the post-earthquake environment through proactive policing and a strong focus on crime prevention," Mr Bush said.
Three districts had a rise in recorded crime. Eastern recorded a 3.4 per cent rise, Central's crime rate rose by 1.6 per cent while Northland's grew by 1.5 per cent.
In terms of criminal categories dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons dropped by 23 per cent, public order offences reduced by 15.7 per cent and property damage and environmental pollution offences were down 6.8 per cent.
Sexual assault offences rose by 11.6 per cent last year but Mr Bush believed that was likely to be due to increased reporting.
"We know that sexual violence is under-reported, and we are heartened that more victims of this type of crime are coming forward," Mr Bush said.
There was also a 22.7 per cent drop in illicit drug offences in the 2013 calendar year. Most of this reduction was in cannabis cultivation and possession.
There was a 59 per cent increase in the import or export illicit drugs offence category.
Police said that was the result of their targeted campaign against organised crime groups that control large parts of the New Zealand methamphetamine drug trade.
"Our intelligence indicates that the price of methamphetamine remains high but steady which indicates that supply is stable," Mr Bush said.
"Unfortunately methamphetamine is not going away. Police will continue to commit resources to disrupt supply and reduce the harm this drug causes."
Mr Bush said the 2013 calendar year recorded crime statistics were an important indicator that Police's Prevention First strategy was working.