Hawke's Bay police are hoping new high-tech tools will help turn around an increase in reported crime in the region last year.
Reported crime in Hawke's Bay rose 2.7 per cent last year, bucking a national trend which has seen the crime rate across the country fall to its lowest level in 29 years.
The percentage of crimes resolved has fallen, although Hawke's Bay police were able to resolve more crimes than the national average. According to statistics released yesterday, there were 15,487 crimes recorded in Hawke's Bay during the 2013 calendar year, up from 15,081 offences reported in 2012. The Eastern Police District, which comprises Hawke's Bay and the neighbouring Tairawhiti region (including Gisborne) was one of three districts where crime increased. The country's other nine police districts reported drops in the rate of reported crime.
Nationally, the number of criminal offences dropped by 4.1 per cent, from 376,013 in 2012 to 360,411 in 2013.
In Hawke's Bay, most of the rise in reported crime was in the areas of violence, burglary and sex offences. There were drops in robberies and drug offending.
There were four homicides in the region last year, compared with two in 2012, and 1939 acts intended to cause injury, compared with 1892 the previous year.
Hawke's Bay Police area commander Inspector Tania Kura said even though the increase in crime overall was only small, it was still disappointing for police.
"Our aim every year is to decrease crime and to create a safer environment for our community.
"We have been working extremely hard to target offenders, our crime hotspots and certain areas of offending," she said.
One initiative undertaken this year has been the opening of a high-tech "command centre" in the Eastern district's Napier headquarters which has helped staff monitor and analyse patterns in crimes such as burglaries, and allocate resources accordingly.
The number of burglary and breaking-and-entering offences in the region rose from 2181 in 2012 to 2579 last year.
The rise in burglaries was concerning, as police had focused heavily on known burglars in the past year, Ms Kura said.
The public had a large part to play in providing information about what was going on in their streets, she said.
The region saw a big decline in the number of drug offences last year, down from 739 in 2012 to 468 in 2013.
The drop could be attributed to an ongoing heavy emphasis on drug offenders in the region, Ms Kura said.
The number of offences in recent years has steadily dropped and Ms Kura said this may be an indication offenders were now "getting the message" from police and the wider community.
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said it was disappointing that the region was going against the national trend of falling crime rates.
Napier Mayor Bill Dalton, said while any increase was disappointing, he was confident police were taking steps to remedy the situation.