A police report on crime trends following the 4 September Canterbury earthquake indicates crime rates are predicted to return to normal levels over the next three months.
The report has shown that overall crime reduced by 15 percent in the immediate aftermath of the quake, although some categories of offending, including burglary and family violence, showed increased activity.
The report, Canterbury Earthquake: key points and forecasting, has been prepared by police for internal planning purposes, and has also been distributed to other agencies involved in the earthquake recovery phase.
• Overall total recorded offences decreased by 15 percent in the three-week post-quake period. Some of this may be attributable to delayed reporting.
• There was a 28 percent increase in calls for service to Police, the majority of these coming on the day of the earthquake (1286 calls on 4 September, compared to a daily average of 500)
• Increases were recorded in domestic disputes and family violence calls, with some callers referring to the stresses of the earthquake. (Note that family violence statistics have been trending upwards for several years, due to factors such as societal changes and improved reporting, which may also have contributed to the increase).
• Significant reduction in theft from cars and car conversions
• Theft offences decreased by 35 percent, while recorded burglary offences increased by 18 percent, the majority of these from dwellings. Note that some suburbs targeted for burglary were already high risk areas.
• Suburbs which suffered significant housing damage were particularly at risk, especially in relation to theft of hot water cylinders and scrap metal.
• Violence offences decreased by 10 percent compared to similar periods in previous years.
• Decreases in reporting were also noted in arson, fraud and sexual offending.
• The number of attempted suicide reports increased in the post-earthquake period. However the total number was relatively low and given the short time frame this is not considered a significant increase.