Counting Crime is a Herald series looking at where and when offending is happening in the community - and who the victims are. Each day we will look at a different category of crime and examine the numbers, meet the people affected the most and reveal the times, days and places you are more likely to fall victim. Today we look at assaults.

Violence, drugs and theft.

It's common in New Zealand's second busiest policing district.

And it results in a 24-hour battle for Auckland City Police to maintain the safety of the country's most urbanised area.

From July 2014 to December 2016 ​​Auckland City Police received 86,314 victim complaints.

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The number was second only to the policing district just to its south, Counties-Manukau.

During that time there were 1,176 sexual assaults reported.

And 9,276 cases of assault.

Violence is anticipated and predicted, and when the Herald followed a dual constable unit on a recent Friday night it proved no different.

Counting Crime: check out your neighbourhood at Herald Insights here.

Attentive officers began the night in an office room briefing at the Auckland Central Police Station.

Some of the most violent areas reported in the <i>Herald</i>'s Counting Crime series are inner-cities. Photo / Dean Purcell
Some of the most violent areas reported in the Herald's Counting Crime series are inner-cities. Photo / Dean Purcell

Those on-duty were warned of several dangerous offenders who may be in the area - many were thought to be heavily armed and were flagged for needing immediate backup.

As the 10pm-6am shift began our unit already had been assigned its first job - an unwanted sexual advance in Eden Terrace.

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The two constables arrived to find a young, shaken women being comforted by her friends.

She'd been accosted by a man in the dark as she made her way home in the rain.

Two detectives were later called to take over the case, interview the women, and try find DNA samples left by the offender.

Our unit moved on - back into the central city.

From July 2014 to December 2016 there were 118,732 victimisations for acts intended to cause injury across New Zealand. Photo / Dean Purcell.
From July 2014 to December 2016 there were 118,732 victimisations for acts intended to cause injury across New Zealand. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Later, while patrolling through Newmarket and past the old Lion Brewery site, we made a sharp turn to follow a suspicious looking young driver.

"Just run those plates for me," asked one of the constables of the other.

The suspicious driver soon noticed his tail and began to pick up speed.

As he rounded a corner on Mountain Rd, our unit's lights lit up the street, reflecting off the empty, wet road.

But, the driver had vanished down a side street.

"You find your instincts are usually correct," the constable who decided to pursue quipped.

"Well, he just proved you right," replied the other.

Auckland Central is one of the country's busiest policing areas. Photo / Dean Purcell *Clothing has been digitally manipulated to protect identity​
Auckland Central is one of the country's busiest policing areas. Photo / Dean Purcell *Clothing has been digitally manipulated to protect identity​

A routine traffic stop followed as we checked for drunk drivers.

However, not long after, a call was broadcast across the shortwave radio to all the inner-cities units - a violent assault was underway along the Auckland waterfront.

We sped from Newmarket to Princes Wharf in what felt like seconds.

When we arrived local security had already detained the alleged offender. He was suspected of beating his partner in their waterfront apartment, trashing the room and building's hallways.

After questioning him at the scene, police arrested him and led him away to the cells for the night and a court appearance the following day. A familiar routine for the constables.

From July 2014 to December 2016 there were 118,732 victimisations complaints made to police for acts intended to cause injury across New Zealand.

Some of the most violent areas reported in the Herald's Counting Crime series are inner-cities.

Areas such as Wellington City, which had 4312 cases, recorded the most incidents.

Auckland Central alone had 3485, Hamilton City recorded 6063, and Counties-Manukau West had 5886, while the Canterbury Metro Area (Christchurch) recorded 10,417.

Read more stories from the series here:

Counting Crime: NZ's CBDs our most dangerous places
Counting Crime: 'His life has been erased'
Counting Crime: Our country's violence fueled by liquor
Smash and grab victim: 'just don't leave stuff in your car'
Car stolen by brazen thieves as couple slept 5m away
An in-depth look at offending and victims in New Zealand
Thefts from cars - when, why, how and who
Retailers in harm's way
Retail thefts cost country $1.2b
Small business owner more vigilant