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The national crime rate fell by 7.4 per cent in the last financial year, with a significant decrease in recorded offences in Auckland.

According to newly released data from Statistics New Zealand, the number of recorded incidents dropped in 10 of the 12 police districts.

Across the country there were significant reductions in burglaries, theft, robbery and illicit drug offences, but increases in sexual assaults and domestic violence offences.


Police Minister Anne Tolley said it was the third consecutive fiscal year in which the crime rate had fallen. There were 29,337 fewer recorded offences in the year to June 30, a fall of 7.4 per cent.

Mrs Tolley credited the positive trend to an increase in foot patrols and the rollout of new technology such as smartphones and tablets, which gave police more time on the beat.

In Auckland, which had a drop in recorded offences of almost 17 per cent, the number of motor vehicle thefts, burglaries and break-and-enter offences had fallen dramatically.

The rate of serious assaults also fell, but the rate of "public place assaults" increased.

Auckland City Superintendent Mike Clement said: "It's ... encouraging that the number of serious assaults resulting in injury has trended downwards since 2008/09 to this year's figure of 691 offences but it is a concern that the number of public place assaults has gone up by 20 to 1377 and we'll be looking more closely at those."

In Counties Manukau, the crime rate also dropped, though recorded sexual offences climbed by 16 per cent.

Police said in a statement that this figure reflected the fact the more people were reporting sexual crimes.

"This can be considered a positive result, attributed to a higher level of trust and confidence in Counties Manukau Police officers and as a result more offences reported, rather than more offences occurring.

"In many cultures, sexual offences are considered shameful and victims may be pressured by family to not report the crimes."

Mrs Tolley said sexual assaults and domestic violence were under-reported across the country.

"I am assured by police that they are continuing to treat these issues as a high priority, as they work towards compiling definitive family violence statistics."

The crime rate in Christchurch increased by 5.4 per cent. District Commander Superintendent Gary Knowles said this trend was expected because crime had fallen to unprecedented lows after major earthquakes in the city in 2010 and 2011.

Recorded offences also increased in Northland.