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Reported crime in Dunedin Clutha Policing Area has decreased by 13% in 2011.
Dunedin Clutha Area Commander Inspector Greg Sparrow said that this meant over 1500 fewer offences than in 2010, which means fewer victims of crime.
"An important part of our approach has always been - and always will be - about prevention, achieving results and delivering reductions in crime and crash. This means reducing reported crime and the number of victims, and increasing the amount of resolved crime and reducing road deaths."
In 2011, the number of reported assaults decreased by 9.9% or 129 fewer offences from 1322 to 1193.
Inspector Sparrow said the majority of assaults were fuelled by alcohol. Police took a low tolerance approach to alcohol-related offending. Often low-level offending such as disorderly behaviour or breaches of liquor ban could escalate into more serious offending.
"We will take some level of positive action, be it a warning, summons or arrest when encountering offences such as these. It's about preventing an escalation in the offending and reducing the chance of becoming a victim."
Inspector Sparrow said that although the total number of assaults reduced the level of reported family violence still remained relatively high.
"Our strategy is a positive action approach, meaning that we will always take action of some kind. Our policy is to make victims and their families safe by ensuring an offender accountable. We will arrest and,or, remove offenders for a `cooling-off' period and then work with other agencies and organisations to help develop sustainable solutions for families to move forward."
Reported burglaries decreased by 8.1% (81 offences) and while this was welcomed Inspector Sparrow said that often people needed to take basic steps to ensure that they did not become victims of burglary. Simple actions, such as locking their doors and closing windows, were a start. Keeping an inventory of property, including serial numbers and photographs of items, was also useful. Another crime prevention initiative was to become a member of Neighbourhood Support.
"Crime is driven by opportunity, reduce the opportunity and you reduce the crime," he said.
Theft-related offences reduced 12.1% down from 3452 reported offences to 3035 offences (a decrease of 417). This included thefts from motor vehicles. While this was pleasing, once again people needed to ensure they locked vehicles and valuables were not left in the car, Inspector Sparrow said. He thanked people for reporting any suspicious behaviour and said that often it was the help of the community that assisted police to solve crimes.
"If you think that some behaviour or something else you see seems suspicious, then it usually is, so please call us."
Reported property damage decreased by 12.4% from 2453 to 2150 reported offences (a decrease of 303). Inspector Sparrow said that wilful damage was a signal crime and made people feel unsafe, this was particularly so with graffiti. It was often difficult to apprehend those responsible and when members of the public witnessed someone damaging property, it was important to contact police immediately.
Inspector Sparrow said that over the previous 12 months there had been major changes in the way police had gone about their business, with a move to a prevention and proactive-focussed style of policing. He said he wanted to focus on ensuring police remained visible to the community and also worked with communities to identify and manage repeat locations, offenders and victims.
Overall the Southern Police District achieved a further 13.1% decrease in reported crime in the calendar year to 31 December 2011, following on from a 7.6% decrease in 2010.
"Obviously I am very pleased with these latest results. They provide further validation of the transformational change Southern District has undergone over the last three years. The most pleasing aspect is that there are over 11000 fewer victims in our communities than there were 15 years ago," said Southern District Commander, Superintendent Bob Burns.
"We have undergone some significant change to move us from a traditional reactive style of policing to one that is far more proactive in addressing short, medium and long term crime problems. Change is never easy, however, Southern District Police staff have proved to be extremely flexible in seizing the opportunities change has provided and together with key community partnerships, produced another year of outstanding results."
"The recently launched New Zealand Police operating strategy of Prevention First will help us to not only build on these gains but to make them sustainable. Already Southern is a safer place to live and work and I am confident we will make it even safer in the coming year."