Latest police crime statistics show total crime fell 10.8 per cent in the Western Bay last year.
It was the second highest drop in the Bay of Plenty behind Taupo on 13.1 per cent.
Western Bay of Plenty area commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said most positive was the decrease from eight homicides in 2011 to two last year and the fall from 122 sexual assaults in 2011 to 97 in 2012.
"These types of high-end offences have a significant impact on our communities and it is pleasing to see less trauma and grief in our communities as a result of reductions in this type of offending," he said.
"While those numbers are small, they have a significant impact on families and the community."
The streets were also safer last year with the number of public order offences and disorders down 26.1 per cent, he said.
Mr Paxton said the large drop in crime was thanks to the hard work of a lot of people over time.
"There's been a lot of good work by our members, our partners and members of the community over a long period of time and it's pleasing to see some of the coming to fruition," he said. "We rely heavily on our community. They are our eyes and ears."
The Western Bay recorded the Bay of Plenty's largest drop in drug offences, down 14 per cent. Bay of Plenty Police District Commander Superintendent Glenn Dunbier said the 6 per cent increase in drug offences across the Bay could be attributed to a focus on organised crime.
The Western Bay figure reflected what police identified as a focus at the time, Mr Paxton said. "Whilst there is a reduction in the illicit drug offences that will still remain a focus for us."
Theft and dishonesty, the largest category of offending in the Western Bay, also decreased by 11.4 per cent last year. While theft was down, burglary was up.
The number of unlawful entry, burglary and breaking and entering offences in the Western Bay rose 1.6 per cent last year.
Ensuring valuables were left out of sight, property was left secure, getting to know your neighbours, noting suspicious activity and phoning police immediately if anything was out of the ordinary was the key to seeing the figure drop, Mr Paxton said.
Also of concern was a 33.3 per cent increase in robberies; most of those were street robberies, he said.
Across the Bay of Plenty recorded crime for the 2012 calendar year fell by 7.1 per cent, on par with the national decrease of 7.4 per cent.