Four out of five people of those surveyed rated the Auckland region as a place where they feel either "safe" or "very safe" from crime in general. Those who mentioned lower perceptions of safety were concerned with issues such as burglary, theft, assault, and mugging.
Almost two-third of the participants reported that they had not noticed any changes in the level of perceived safety in the Auckland region compared with the previous year. Although the survey was not exhaustive, the results suggested that there is a difference in perceived safety across the region.
Also, the results suggest that those who identified themselves as locals in an area demonstrated stronger perceptions of safety compared to non-locals.
Demographics and Group Differences
The perceptions of safety from crime are different across various demographic groups. Those who often express less confidence in safety in certain areas or time of day are likely to be:
- women, particularly after dark;
- 20 to 29 year olds – greater mobility and involvement in activities after dark seems to be possibly the reason for this population group to have experienced more vulnerability or experiences of crime (the highest victimisation rate of all age groups)
- non-Europeans – particularly Maori, Pacific, Indian, and South Asians.
- recent victims of a crime. This group is more likely to report being unsafe in places where non-victims feel fairly safe.
Daily Life: The Experience and Impact of Crime
The majority of respondents to the survey had not experienced being a victim of crime. Yet, about 26 per cent said that they, or a household member, had been a victim of crime in the Auckland region in the year prior to the survey. The nature of such crimes was almost twice as likely to be property crimes rather than personal crimes (e.g., break-ins into vehicles or burglary, rather than an assault).
The survey compared the results of those who identified themselves as victims of crime in four metropolitan areas across Auckland. These metropolitan areas were the Auckland CBD, Manukau, Takapuna, and Henderson. The results indicated that there was only one per cent increase in the likelihood of victimisation after dark rather than the daytime in all those locations.
Almost 50 per cent of people interviewed expressed that the safety concerns had impacted their normal daily activities to a varying degree, such as choosing the destination they would visit. Generally, less than a third of all people concerned for their safety reported such concerns had a significant impact on their activities.
This level of concern was not consistent for everyone. Less than two per cent said that they felt concerns for safety once a month or more. Almost one in six of those people mentioned they felt such concerns as recently as the day prior to the survey.
In terms of places where they felt concerned for their safety, 1 in 4 people were able to mention at least one particular place where they had significant safety concerns. The concentration of such locations was higher in certain areas of the Auckland region. Twice as many females than males reported this, and a third of them were 30 years of age or younger.
Perceptions of Safety in Neighbourhoods
Despite the varying levels of concern for safety that people reported, a significant number (85 per cent) believed their neighbourhood was either a fairly safe or a very safe place, with almost two-thirds finding their neighbourhood as safe as it was the previous year.
Particular Neighbourhood Locations
In general, there was always a level of safety concern for people when waiting at a public transport hub. Ferry terminals and train stations were reported to be less concerning areas though the overall level of concern rose after dark. The findings suggested that the perception of safety declines significantly at bus stops after dark. The below diagrams summarise this change in different locations within neighbourhoods.
However, a smaller number of people who expressed that they were ‘quite’ or ‘very' fearful were concerned that their daily activities had been affected because of such concerns. The level of concern changed dramatically when some particular places within the public realm (e.g., public toilets) were visited, regardless of whether being alone or in a group.
Perceptions of Safety in Town Centres
The CBD and the three other metropolitan centres in the region were specifically examined to determine the level of safety perception during the day and night. The public confidence in safety is likely to drop in such places at night for various reasons. Some public and semi-public areas such as the Takapuna beach or carparks in shopping malls were mentioned as places where people are more likely to be concerned about their safety at night. The greatest concerns rise from the changes in people's behaviour and attitudes, especially after 10pm at night.