The Government has created a new online database of crime data to try to show New Zealanders that crime rates are not as bad as thought.

The Ministry of Justice's Datalab website was launched today by ministers.

The Ministry's chief executive Andrew Bridgman said despite falling crimes rates, many New Zealanders believed crime was getting worse.

They were not concerned about crime in their own neighbourhood, but felt that it was increasing across the country.

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This was partly because of media coverage of crime stories.

Mr Bridgman said greater access to information would help people feel safer.

He also said public perception of a worsening crime rate created fear in New Zealand communities, and this could influence public policy.

Crime was falling across nearly all categories, including youth crime and violent crime.

Datalab would allow the public to first access Ministry of Justice data, and later police and Corrections information.

The project was part of a drive to make official data more transparent. It came after the Public Perceptions of Crime survey found that the public did not always trust government statistics about crime rates.

Most of the information on the new site was already publicly available, but it was difficult to understand or find in its current form.