Police are partially at a loss to explain a significant increase in the number of sexual assaults and related offences reported in the Bay of Plenty Police District during 2011.
Those offences increased by 61.9%, or 135 offences, on the previous year, while the district’s overall recorded crime rate fell by 5.6%.
Bay of Plenty Police District crime manager, Detective Inspector Tim Anderson, says one reason for the increase could be a large number of historic offences being represented in the statistics, especially considering the recent ‘push’ on those abusing children and women.
A small number of offenders could also skew such statistics, he says.
“I remember a few years ago I was working on a paedophile unit in Auckland and we were getting parliamentary questions on a 400 per cent increase in child abuse. That really came down to two or three offenders who were charged with a lot of individual offences.”
Still, Tim says it would be impossible to know for sure unless he was able to study the numbers, which, in a large and busy police district such as the Bay of Plenty, is not always possible.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to look at the numbers and even drill down into the data – it is a large number – I haven’t had the opportunity to look at why the change is.”
Nationally, there was a 15% increase in the number of sexual assaults in 2011, with about 450 more offences reported to police during that year.