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Changing crime rates? Gabrielle Maxwell 27 February 2009 Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington.

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Presentation on theme: "Changing crime rates? Gabrielle Maxwell 27 February 2009 Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington."— Presentation transcript:

1 Changing crime rates? Gabrielle Maxwell 27 February 2009 Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

2 Outline What evidence is available? What evidence is available? How much crime is occurring? How much crime is occurring? Are the police apprehending offenders? Are the police apprehending offenders? What sorts of crimes? What sorts of crimes? Are young people offending more often? Are young people offending more often? Imprisonment rate comparisons Imprisonment rate comparisons Why so much concern about rising crime? Why so much concern about rising crime? Conclusions Conclusions

3 The types of evidence Reported crime? Reported crime? Resolved crime? Resolved crime? Apprehensions? Apprehensions? Breakdowns by Breakdowns by Year Year Type of crime Type of crime Age group Age group

4 How much crime? Victim surveys: 2000 – 2005 Victim surveys: 2000 – 2005 Victims of violence - little change Victims of violence - little change Household offences - “increase but not a large one” Household offences - “increase but not a large one” Crime reported to the police Crime reported to the police overall a decline overall a decline

5 Crime rates recorded by police Recorded Offences per 10,000 population Year Offences

6 Why is crime declining International trend International trend Not well understood Not well understood Possible reasons include Possible reasons include economic patterns, economic patterns, better security, better security, changes in culture and life style changes in culture and life style

7 Police effectiveness Percentage being resolved, in standard times set for resolution statistics, has steadily increased. Percentage being resolved, in standard times set for resolution statistics, has steadily increased. All crime: All crime: 36% in 1998 to nearly 50% in % in 1998 to nearly 50% in 2007 Serious violence: Serious violence: 71% to 80% 71% to 80% Murder: Murder: 62% to 91% 62% to 91%

8 Police apprehensions Police Resolution percentages for murder and serious violence Year Rate MurderSerious Violence

9 What sorts of crimes? Almost all types of crimes have been declining Almost all types of crimes have been declining Exceptions are ones relating to new technologies Exceptions are ones relating to new technologies Most important data probably involves violence – especially serious violence and murder Most important data probably involves violence – especially serious violence and murder Data in graph show no. of cases in court and not no. of offenders. Data in graph show no. of cases in court and not no. of offenders.

10 Types of offences

11 Commentary on graph Overall a decline a new trend or a blip? Overall a decline a new trend or a blip? Murder - rise from 12 to 15 per million – possibly reflects improved resolution speeds and rates Murder - rise from 12 to 15 per million – possibly reflects improved resolution speeds and rates Serious violence shows a rise: Serious violence shows a rise: Greater increase in threats of violence than in actual assaults but there are increases here too Greater increase in threats of violence than in actual assaults but there are increases here too More partner violence More partner violence Possibly declining tolerance of violent behaviour – particular within the family. Possibly declining tolerance of violent behaviour – particular within the family. International comparisons suggest violence data probably similar to Australia and Canada rather than USA International comparisons suggest violence data probably similar to Australia and Canada rather than USA

12 Offending by young people Police apprehension rates per 10,000 population by age groups for all offences : Year Rate per 10, to 16

13 Offending by young people Why is it apparently declining when reports of rises come from various areas regularly? Why is it apparently declining when reports of rises come from various areas regularly? Crime hot spots come and go – often when a specific cohort moves on or ages Crime hot spots come and go – often when a specific cohort moves on or ages Could be changes in patterns with changes in nature of communities Could be changes in patterns with changes in nature of communities Increased poverty among the poorest Increased poverty among the poorest Despite media reports - South Auckland police report successful new crime management strategies Despite media reports - South Auckland police report successful new crime management strategies

14 Concerns about rising crime Role of the media Role of the media BBC analyses UK crime going down but 2/3 people believe it is rising BBC analyses UK crime going down but 2/3 people believe it is rising In NZ TV news – c. 20% deals with crime in a news period where about 50% in all is about death and disaster In NZ TV news – c. 20% deals with crime in a news period where about 50% in all is about death and disaster Trends in press and TV – tabloidisation, trivialisation, lack of expert commentators Trends in press and TV – tabloidisation, trivialisation, lack of expert commentators Distorted perception of facts, increased fearfulness and undermined public confidence. Distorted perception of facts, increased fearfulness and undermined public confidence.

15 Prison sentences - trends

16 Imprisonment rates: international comparisons (Data from )

17 Global Peace index rankings 2008 Iceland 1 Iceland 1 Denmark 2 Denmark 2 Norway 3 Norway 3 New Zealand 4 New Zealand 4 Japan 5 Japan 5 Canada 11 Canada 11 Hong Kong 23 Hong Kong 23 Australia 27 Australia 27 United Kingdom 49 United Kingdom 49 United States 97 United States 97 Iraq140 Iraq140

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19 Conclusions Overall, crime is dropping or stable Overall, crime is dropping or stable Police are resolving more crime more speedily Police are resolving more crime more speedily Violent crime is rising but in part because family violence is being reported more often Violent crime is rising but in part because family violence is being reported more often Young people are now less likely to come to attention than ten years ago Young people are now less likely to come to attention than ten years ago Changes reflect innovative policing, better responses to young people, better situational crime prevention Changes reflect innovative policing, better responses to young people, better situational crime prevention Prison numbers have risen disproportionately to offending and to other comparable countries Prison numbers have risen disproportionately to offending and to other comparable countries


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