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  Community » Waikato Progress Indicators - Tupuranga Waikato » Report cards » Crime


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Improving trend    IMPROVING TREND


Reported crime in the Waikato region has fallen substantially since the mid 1990s, and remains relatively low.

This indicator is the number of reported crimes (victimisations) in the Waikato Police District per 10,000 population per year, based on New Zealand Police data on recorded offences and Waikato Region population estimates.

Why is this indicator important?

Crime is a topic of considerable public interest. Rising levels of reported crime are perceived as a threat to safety, property and people’s sense of wellbeing. This can influence people’s decisions on where and how they live. Higher levels of crime may also lead to increased pressure on support systems and other resources (for example, physical and mental healthcare services, financial assistance from the government or charities).


Bar chart of total recorded offences per 10,000

Source: For 2014/15 onwards, data are from New Zealand Police victimisation data Prior figures are estimated from historical trends in rates of recorded offences.

Table of recorded offences per 10,000 people in the population

What is this indicator telling us? 

  • Changes in the number of crimes recorded annually in the Waikato Police District generally reflect the national trend. Over the period 2004 to 2011 there was an increased frequency of recorded crimes across most categories for the Waikato Police District, followed by falling rates of recorded crime. Currently, there are close to record low levels of recorded victimisations. Dishonesty offences in the form of theft, unlawful entry, robbery and related offences regularly account for around half of all recorded crime.
  • Since 2004, there have been increases in some forms of reported criminal crime including acts intended to cause injury, abduction, harassment and public order offences. However, at least part of this rise can be attributed to greater awareness and reporting of family violence and other forms of victimisation. Care needs to be taken in the interpretation of reported crime statistics as they may be affected by changes in public reporting rates and police administrative changes.
  • The annual number of deaths due to assault provides an alternative measure of violent crime, although the figures for New Zealand are relatively low and even lower at the regional level. Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) data shows that the national five year rolling average number of deaths due to assault  increased from 57 in 1999-2003 to 61 in 2009-2013. This figure remained unchanged in the Waikato District Health Board region at approximately five deaths per year on average for most of this period.
  • New Zealand has one of the lowest crime rates in the world (assaults and homicide rates).

Check out related information on our website and other organisations’ websites listed on our Waikato Progress Indicators’ Useful Links page.


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Victimisation trend data are available online at link). Source document for counts is Victimisations National Chart 3 – Crime Trends. Waikato regional counts were divided by the estimated population of Waikato Police District, then multiplied by 10,000 to arrive at a crime rate estimate. Future work may be undertaken to refine these crime rate estimates.

New Zealand’s crime statistics were recently transformed, resulting in new measures and trends. WPI has worked with NZ Police guidance to develop a regional trend series for the period pre- and post-July 2014.

Secondary data on ‘deaths due to assault’ are from the Ministry of Health’s Mortality data tables – annual numbers of assault deaths by DHB region of domicile.

Update details: Annual fiscal year data are reported to 2015/16, with 2016/17 results expected around August 2017.

Customised data request requirements: Nil.


Territorial Authority (TA) disaggregation: Data are available for the Hamilton City, Waikato East and Waikato West police areas. The rate of reported crime in Hamilton City is higher than in non-metropolitan areas in the Waikato Police District.

Other regions: Police Districts 

New Zealand: Yes 

Other countries/ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Secondary statistics from the OECD Wellbeing Report: Safety – Key findings(external link). In particular, the OECD findings state that: ‘New Zealand’s homicide rate is 1.2, lower than the OECD average of 4.1’. New Zealand ranks only 24/38 on homicide rate but there is very little difference between the higher-ranked countries.

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