Society

Offences and apprehensions

One way to understand crime and policing in 2012 is to look at the recorded offences and apprehensions.
  • Image, close-up of crime scene tape stretched across an outdoor area.

    Find out about patterns in recorded offences and in the outcomes of apprehensions in 2011 and 2012.

    Types of offences recorded

    Offences can be split into three different categories. This makes a useful distinction when trying to get a sense of how recorded offences affect society. The categories are:

    • crimes against person (eg assault, robbery, dangerous or negligent acts)
    • crimes against property (eg theft, burglary, property damage)
    • disorder and other offences (eg possession of drugs or weapons, public order offences).

    Table 1 shows that, in 2012, 61 percent of crimes were against property. This was down from 63 percent in 2011. Crimes against people made up 16 percent of all recorded crime, up 1 percent from 2011. Disorder and other offences were also up 1 percent from 2011, to 23 percent. 

    Table 1

    Crime in New Zealand
    By type of offence
    2011–12
    Type of offence 2011 2012
    Number Percent Number Percent
    Crimes against person 62,200 15 60,128 16
    Crimes against property 254,954 63 229,327 61
    Disorder and other offences 88,902 22 86,558 23
    Total 406,056 100 376,013 100

    Outcome of apprehensions made

    The number of apprehensions in a year is another key measure for crime. When someone is apprehended, there are several possible outcomes:

    • prosecution in a criminal court
    • a warning or caution
    • being sent to a family group conference
    • being sent to the Police Youth Aid section
    • other.

    ‘Other’ is an outcome for approximately 5 percent of all apprehensions. In these cases the alleged offender is either deceased, apprehended for a more serious offence, or there are questions about the mental condition of the offender.

    In 2012, 58 percent of apprehensions resulted in prosecution in a criminal court. Figure 1 shows this percentage dropped significantly over the five years to 2012; in 2008, 71 percent of all apprehensions had resulted in a prosecution. Over the same period, the number of warning or cautions increased from 15 percent in 2008 to 32 percent 2012.

    Table 2 shows the main driver behind the drop in prosecutions in a criminal court was fewer prosecutions for disorder offences. While the number of both personal crimes and property crimes that led to prosecutions decreased slowly in the five years to 2012, the number of disorder crimes dropped substantially, from 76 percent of apprehensions in 2008 to 51 percent in 2011.

    In contrast, apprehensions resulting in warnings for disorder and other offences have increased, from 16 percent of apprehensions in 2008 to 44 percent in 2012.

    Table 2

    Apprehensions resulting in either prosection or warning
    2008–12
        Crimes against person Crimes against property Disorder and other offences Total
      Percent
    2008 Prosecution 69 67 76 71
      Warning/caution 19 12 16 15
    2009 Prosecution 67 67 75 70
      Warning/caution 21 14 18 18
    2010 Prosecution 65 64 66 65
      Warning/caution 24 16 28 23
    2011 Prosecution 63 64 56 60
      Warning/caution 25 16 37 27
    2012 Prosecution 62 63 51 58
      Warning/caution 28 18 44 31

    Source: New Zealand Police and Statistics New Zealand

In 2012, 58 percent of apprehensions resulted in a prosecution in a criminal court.
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