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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).


Crime 2019

Source: For 2014/15 onwards, data are from New Zealand Police victimisation data combined with Waikato Region population estimates (adjusted to approximate the Waikato Police District population). Prior figures are estimated from historical trends in rates of recorded offences.

Year Rates of recorded crime per 10,000 population
2001/01 747
2001/02 721
2002/03 685
2003/04 655
2004/05 601
2005/06 696
2006/07 709
2007/08 666
2008/09 663
2009/10 709
2010/11 688
2011/12 678
2012/13 592
2013/14 599
2014/15 547
2015/16 619
2016/17 645
2017/18 645


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, although there has been a slight increase in recent years. 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 rate of deaths by assault per 100,000 population is another indicator of violent crime. Over the period 2006 to 2014, in contrast to population increases at both a regional and national level, the average number of deaths per annum remained at a relatively similar level (subject to annual volatility). On average there were approximately five deaths due to assault per year in the Waikato District Health Board region and approximately 58 per year in New Zealand over this period. Consequently, the rate of deaths by assault per 100,000 population decreased over the same period. Within the Waikato DHB region, the rate fell from approximately 2.00 deaths per 100,000 population in 2006 to 1.30 in 2014. There was a similar trend at the national level. Subject to annual fluctuations, on average the rate of recorded deaths by assault per 100,000 population in the Waikato DHB region was similar to the national average over the period 2006 to 2014.
  • New Zealand has one of the lowest crime rates in the world (assaults and homicide rates). According to the latest OECD data, New Zealand's homicide rate is 1.3, significantly lower than the OECD average of 3.6.

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 Source document for counts is Victimisations Crime Trends. Waikato regional counts were divided by the estimated population of Waikato Police District (based on 80 per cent of Regional Council population), 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 (1) the Ministry of Health’s Mortality data tables – annual numbers of assault deaths by DHB region of domicile (data for the Waikato DHB region) and (2) population data from Statistics New Zealand NZDot.Stat website (subnational population estimates (DHB, DHB constituency), by age and sex, at 30 June 2006–17 (2017 boundaries)). The indicator is calculated as ‘crude rates’ (i.e. not age-standardised). Usually mortality rates are age standardised for comparison purposes between regions or countries, however this generally needs around 30 events to be robust so is not appropriate for data on Waikato assault deaths by year.

Update details: Annual fiscal year data are reported to 2017/18, with 2018/19 results expected around August 2019 and corresponding population estimate available in October/November 2019.

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. In particular, the OECD findings state that: ‘New Zealand’s homicide rate is 1.3, lower than the OECD average of 3.6’. New Zealand ranks 26/40 on homicide rate amongst the OECD countries.