Downtown Whanganui is the most dangerous place in the city, according to figures released by Statistics New Zealand.

Last year there were 66 victims of assault, sexual assault or robbery in the area extending from Hatrick St East across to Wicksteed St, including Queen's Park, and down Park Place to Dublin St in the northwest.

Offences in the area - referred to in the figures as Cooks Gardens - resulted in it ranking at 51 in the most dangerous areas in the country.

Based on the population for the area, the number of assaults and robberies was 42 times the national average. However, central business districts around New Zealand also recorded the highest rates of offences, despite population counts.

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Aotea Maori Wardens' spokeswoman Rose Tuirirangi said assaults in the city were not common, but were most likely to happen after bars and clubs closed on Victoria Ave and Ridgway St.

She said most bars and clubs were kept under control by security, but believed alcohol could fuel fights once people left bars. However, she was more concerned with people "hooning" through the central city in their cars on the weekend, putting people in danger.

"You get some driving through streets and they don't even need to go through town," she said.

"In the CBD, there's a lot of old people walking the streets at night, going to get something to eat and it's quite dangerous when they're hooning down the street."

Ms Tuirirangi said the Maori Wardens' patrol finished at 1am most nights, and thought any fights might occur a few hours later.

Nationwide, there were 24,035 recorded victims of assault, sexual assault and robbery last year.

The average rate of offences was 52 per 10,000 population.

Auckland Central West had the most with 550, followed by Willis St to Cambridge St in Wellington with 447.