More than 1300 Rotorua and Bay of Plenty criminals are on the run from police.
Ministry of Justice figures released under the Official Information Act show the number of criminals wanted by police in the Bay of Plenty, which includes Rotorua.
The data is based on the number of outstanding arrest warrants from the beginning of 2004 to the end of June this year.
It shows a total of 1341 people were wanted on active warrants in the Bay of Plenty region as of June 30, 88 of whom had committed violence.
Ten others were wanted on active warrants for crimes relating to sexual assaults.
A warrant is issued by a judge when someone accused of a crime fails to appear in court or breaches their bail conditions.
It may also be issued for someone who is suspected of a crime but still at large in the community.
Rotorua Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Peter Bentley told The Daily Post the figures made a mockery of New Zealand's justice system.
"The risk to the public is huge."
Mr Bentley, whose organisation campaigns for tougher bail legislation, said the data was especially troubling for a small community like Rotorua.
"We're abhorred especially for the violent ones. It is paramount we get them off the street."
Those wanted on arrest warrants should not be given a second chance and should be locked up until they were due to appear in court again.
"When they do track them down, and hopefully they'll track them down, they should be immediately incarcerated.
"And if it takes a year for their case to come back, then so be it."
Rotorua police area commander Inspector Bruce Horne said the city had a team of four staff dedicated to targeting wanted people.
"We also have a process in place where we prioritise the people wanted on warrant and ensure that our most dangerous offenders are located with urgency to ensure they are brought back before the courts as soon as possible."
He said many of those with outstanding warrants related to alleged lower level offending or failures to appear in court.
"Some will involve those who have moved overseas or are using a false identity, while others will include those who have moved and not come to further attention of Police," he said.
"Some will also involve individuals who have died and their death has not been notified to the court."
Mr Horne said anyone who had an active warrant was a concern for police and no-one was more committed than the police in "bringing these people to justice".
"Locating these individuals is a focus for staff in each district, every day and police use a range of techniques to do this, including publicity through the media," he said.
"Rotorua police frequently use local media to raise awareness about people being sought by the police, and that approach routinely results in information being provided to the police about the whereabouts of people wanted on warrant. A surprisingly high number of people voluntarily surrender to the police when their name and photograph is publicised in the local media."
Meanwhile, national figures show 17,655 people are wanted on arrest warrants throughout the country, 15 of whom are for homicide or related offences.
Ministry of Justice district courts general manager Tony Fisher said at least 40,000 warrants were issued every year.
"There is a whole range of reasons why the accused [people] have not been found, including that they may have gone overseas, are using a false identity, or have shifted to another part of the country where they are not known and have not been caught committing a subsequent crime."
Most of the warrants were issued in Auckland, where more than 5000 people were wanted for arrest.
People can also check the police "Wanteds" website, which has photos and details of offenders wanted on arrest, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report a known offender.
The Wanteds website: http://www.police.govt.nz/wanteds
10 for sex offenders
88 for violence
173 for theft and related offences