4% of adults experience 47% of crime

That’s a remarkable statistic.

Chester Borrows (The Spinoff): A huge chunk of crime affects a tiny group of people. Why?

Crime feeds on the young, vulnerable and the very communities that have the least capacity to respond and recover.

While 71% of New Zealanders haven’t had any experience of crime over the past year, no New Zealander should find any satisfaction in the statistic that 4% of people suffer nearly half of all crime (47%). Crime is not an equal opportunity offender.

The yearly NZCVS provides a far-more detailed and nuanced picture of crime and victimisation in New Zealand, replacing the intermittent NZCASS survey. Researchers are already in the field for next year’s survey, which I hope will be funded for longer than the current three-year allocation.

The survey will help provide a strong foundation of evidence and quantitative data to support the work of the Safe and Effective Justice Programme, that the work of our advisory group also feeds into. Many of the results directly echo what we’ve been hearing around New Zealand from all walks of life.

What continues to interest me is that only 4% of adults experience 47% of all crime incidents.

Drilling further into this, it’s clear that for the people affected by crime far too many are victimised repeatedly.

  • Four per cent of victims of household offences and 10% of victims of personal crime were victimised five or more times within 12 months;
  • At 37%, Māori were more likely to be victims of crime than the national average of 29%;
  • 40% of 20-29 years-old were victims of crime over the past year, whereas 18% of those aged 65 or older reported being victims of crime. Yet we hear from older New Zealanders, generally, more fear of crime and perceptions of crime being much greater than it actually is.
  • There is greater victimisation by crime found in areas of high deprivation – so if you live in areas of higher needs (or, generally lower incomes), you’re more likely to be a victim.
  • And 300,000 New Zealand adults experienced 747,000 incidents of interpersonal violence over the past year, showing that for far too many Kiwis the hurt they suffer is not one-off.

What this further points to is a theme that we’re hearing across the justice sector and the public around the effect longer prison sentences has on crime. In effect, longer sentences don’t seem to be helping. What we are hearing is that the likelihood of getting caught that has a greater impact on whether someone will offend.

In areas of high deprivation, it may be easier to commit crime because people in those areas are less likely to report it – and the cycle of crime feeding on the most vulnerable continues.

If we are to really breakthrough the cycle of crime and incarceration then as a country we need to re-examine the attitudes we have toward crime and punishment. When 60% of people released from prison reoffend within two years, then that should tell you that our current system isn’t providing the right outcomes for all our communities.

Borrows is a former National MP and currently chairs Te Uepu, which is tasked with trying to get a safer and more effective justice system.

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16 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  16th May 2019

    white collar crime included in these conclusions?

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  16th May 2019

      Doesnt seem to be ‘personal’ crime – which I assume is family violence, assaults , burglarys etc

      When I had a job that required to work all over Auckland suburbs, I could see police cars were much more active in ceratin deprived areas, but it seemed they were focused on vehicles to catch , no WOFs, unlicensed drivers etc. Its seems a catch 22: a higher reported crime area gets attention from police , but because of quotas etc they go after easily ‘counted and solved’ crimes- always very important for promotions for middle ranking cops in charge of these areas.

      Reply
  2. NOEL

     /  16th May 2019

    10% of victims of personal crime were victimised five or more times within 12 months”

    Aw gee we all know the dirtbags won’t get a taxi to Remurewa.

    Reply
  3. Corky

     /  16th May 2019

    If every there was an advertisement for the advantages of becoming a Righty and moving up in the world, this is it.

    A few years back our local paper interviewed kids in a decile 1 school. In fact – 1 would have been a better descriptor. Anyway, the journalist asked these kids if they had one wish, what would that be? Most said they wished to live in an area that was nice and they wanted to go to a nice school. Really sad. What normal kids would wish for wasn’t on these children’s radar

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  16th May 2019

      what do ‘normal’ kids wish for?

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  16th May 2019

        Well, if you have to ask me that, you must have been living in a cave…but I think we can safely assume, living in a better area isn’t high on their priorities.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  16th May 2019

          very evasive answer…just say you have no idea!

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  16th May 2019

            This is a real story about a decile 1 school, not some half remembered story in the weekly free newspaper
            https://educationcentral.co.nz/what-life-looks-like-at-nzs-largest-decile-one-high-school/
            “I call the first student’s mother. She works days and nights at a factory and is hard to contact. She tells me her daughter has been caring for a sick grandparent. Like many people in Manurewa, the mother, who works for a major New Zealand company, is paid minimum wage. The family can’t afford care for the grandparent, and her daughter won’t leave him.”
            ‘The second student’s mother sounds tired and sad – her son is suicidal. Another single mother in low-income work, she cannot afford professional help for him. Like thousands of other young people throughout South Auckland, her son is at the mercy of a failing mental health system.’
            This is the reality of decile schools , yet the previous government spent millions
            every year on fees scholarships for a tiny number of students to attend a top level private schools. Thousands more get every little at their Dec 1 school.

            Reply
            • The decile one school get more money per student than high decile schools. Some high decile school have very little cash as they sit in areas with high property values,(meaning a high decile rating) but parents have little disposable cash after mortgage payments. Schools prefer lower not higher decile ratings

          • Corky

             /  16th May 2019

            Listen,bud, don’t tell me you know what I read and in what. It was our regional paper, not that you would know because you haven’t read it.

            Your link supports what I said in my first post. Thanks for that.

            ”If every there was an advertisement for the advantages of becoming a Righty and moving up in the world, this is it.”

            @ Blazer.

            ”very evasive answer…just say you have no idea!”

            No, anyone ( unless they come from a deprived homelife?) knows what normal kids wish for. Hell, even Lurchy could answer that. Why should I waste my time on such tripe?

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  16th May 2019

              you are prepared to spend time on avoiding an answer!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  16th May 2019

              I take it that the ones quoted in the supposed free paper are abnormal.

              It seems an unlikely answer to an unlikely question in a local free paper.

              If Corks gave the name and date or a link, his story would be more credible.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  16th May 2019

        I suppose that normal kids don’t all wish for the same thing any more than Corky’s abnormal ones would do in reality.

        Reply
  4. I’m sure the Greens will scream we need more crime to deliver social equality.

    Reply
  5. David

     /  16th May 2019

    I dont see the stat as remarkable if you are a crook you are far more likely to be a victim no different than if you work on a building site you are more likely to hit your thumb with a hammer than your accountant is.

    Reply
  6. Kitty Catkin

     /  16th May 2019

    These figures seem a bit odd, somehow.

    Reply

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