Recorded crime in Rotorua has dropped nearly 16 per cent in the 12 months with theft and sexual assault among those on the decline.

However robbery and illicit drug offences are bucking the trend with significant rises of 32.8 per cent and 68.1 per cent respectively.

Crime in Rotorua dropped by 15.7 per cent, from 13,531 to 11,405 offences in the year ending July compared with the same period last year.

Rotorua police area commander Anaru Pewharangi said he was "very proud" of the Rotorua police team "who care very deeply about the community they serve in".


"We are all committed to reducing crime and victimisation to ensure New Zealanders are safe and feel safe in their communities.

"Rotorua police staff are fully engaged and dedicated to providing an excellent service."

He said even one victim was still one too many.

"Across the Rotorua area, we have seen a decrease in victimisation numbers related to sexual assault, disorderly behaviour and motor vehicle theft but an increase in reported robberies."

Recorded sexual assaults decreased by 25.4 per cent, from 134 to 100, and Pewhairangi said sexual assault crime was treated as a priority.

"We dedicate a large amount of investigative resource into these types of crimes.

"Police are aware these crimes can be under-reported and we encourage people to come forward if they have been a victim of a sexual assault."

Victim Support general manager Cam Cotter said it was great to hear crime had taken such a dive in Rotorua over the last year.

"It's easy to forget that for every offence there is at least one victim. This sort of drop means a safer community and fewer people and whānau getting hurt."

Victim Support Rotorua saw a slight increase in referrals during the time period, from 559 in 2016/17 to 592 in 2017/18.

Cotter said Victim Support didn't usually see referral statistics mirror crime statistics.

"There are many factors which contribute to our referrals, such as changing attitudes towards asking for help, and the number of people victimised by any particular single offence."

Cotter said the drop in sexual assaults was "particularly encouraging".

Recorded thefts, which include the illegal use of property, motor vehicle thefts and thefts excluding motor vehicles, declined by 8.6 per cent, from 3494 to 3194, over the last year.

However, robberies had risen 32.8 per cent, from 64 to 85 recorded offences.

Cotter said theft and robbery could present a range of impacts for victims.

"In minor cases presenting small inconveniences, but in serious cases leaving victims feeling violated, isolated, and unsafe far beyond the event itself.

"Aggravated robbery is exceptionally traumatic for those who experience it, leaving those who should be safe in their workplace traumatised, afraid, and sometimes physically injured."

Pewhairangi said robberies continued to be an area police worked hard in.

"Our local staff regularly provide crime prevention advice, both in person and through electronic resources, to help businesses prevent this type of offending happening.

"We do understand that there's room for improvement and our staff are working hard to turn this increase in robberies."

Charanjit Dhillon owns five Bottle O stores in Rotorua and one in Tauranga.

"Around the country, the robberies are getting worse, but in Rotorua, it is becoming okay," he said.

He said Facebook pages like Thieves of Rotorua had helped in catching a lot of the criminals.

"It used to be every week, sometimes twice a week, now we can have quite long gaps between them.

"Over this year we've had nearly 100 per cent response in catching them."

He said a stronger police presence was also being felt and he was confident the number of robberies would start to come down.

"We feel safer because the police response has been much stronger and police are going to see that."

He said shop owners had to play a part too by investing in quality security like cameras and smoke bombs.

One of his employees, who did not wish to be named, said the robberies were "just part of the job" but 99 per cent of the customers were good.

"We do get a lot of racial abuse and that part really hurts.

"Luckily it's not a daily occurrence, but every community has idiots."

Bucking the downward trend, illicit drug offences rose 68.1 per cent in the year to July, from 248 recorded offences to 417.

Pewhairangi said police used many approaches in tackling the issue of illicit drug use and was aware of the negative impact it had on local communities.

"However, it is not an issue that can be resolved in isolation and a community-wide approach is required.

"Working together with our partners and support agencies to reduce the harm caused by illicit drugs through investigation and prevention measures are an important facet of our policing response."