Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Punching above our weight on a global stage

Oh dear. In an effort to make everyone, but especially members of our Asian population, feel better about crime, I decided to do some research. So I googled. And sure enough, we score really low on the World murder rankings, just above the Scandinavians, Hong Kong and Japan (which has few murders but interesting ones).

Then I took a look at the total crimes per capita and found, to my horror that we are second from the top, just ahead of the Scandinavians. In fact all the cuddly Social Democrat nations are near the top of the list. Surely the tories are not right after all? Surely all those libraries and arts centres don't cause delinquency? Surely we do not have more crime than all those countries to which we send aid? Am I a Liberal who has been mugged by reality? Someone, please explain. And don't tell anyone called Garth until we sort this out.


Anonymous said...

The solution is obvious, Liberals and Social Democrats are very good at collecting minor crime statistics. The rest are too occupied with their high homicide rates to be bothering with such things.

Our cops have little to do, despite media distortions, so they are occupied collecting statistics on people shouting at their dogs or jaywalking. If they didn't we would wake up one day and realise the police don't do anything useful (opinions of rabid Singaporeans notwithstanding).

Josh said...

Well, yeah, there has to be something fishy going on with reporting rates or statistics or something, if we're listed as having a crime rate nearly 100 times that of India's. I'm sure some scientographer or mathemagician will be able to sort it out.

Anonymous said...

I have my suspicions. Looking at the details we are apparently no 1 in the % of the pop who report having been sexually assaulted (females only though) at 1%. Though they don't say where they got that stat. If they had a link to that info it would be much better. Is NZ really a hotbed of sexual assault? worse than any other country? I seriously doubt it.

Russell Brown said...

No wuckers, Paul. The key to it is the little note down the bottom that reads:

DEFINITION: Note: Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.

So, yes: in truly crazy places where people are being murdered all the time, no one bothers to report (or, at the police end, record) the kind of burglaries and thefts from cars that we're so good at here.

We are ever the world's caddy: doing the unglamorous, piddling crimes that bulk out the statistics, while other people get to do the murdering. It's our role.

I covered the topic here earlier this year:


In the most recent International Crime Victims Survey, New Zealand was topped only by England, Ireland and Wales for incidence of a basket of 30 common crimes. That might be enough to dissuade one from visiting Wales, but England? I think not. You just go there and mind out for the knife-fights and puddles of vomit, don't you?

Also, New Zealand's victim support performance is stellar. And we had the lowest rate of bicycle theft in the survey.

Chris S said...

Yeah, that's really dodgy. I would put it down to our "reported" crime rate being fairly close to our "actual" crime rate whereas a lot of the other countries have a very low "reported" crime rate but an "actual" crime rate much higher than hours.

The skinny is: Don't trust statistics!

Anonymous said...

Pretty much the only reliable crime statistic is the murder rate, as it has a very low reporting bias.

Even here, if the deceased is a victim of organised crime, and particularly where the police are linked to organised crime, the murder may not be reported. But countries where this is the case tend to be high up the murder rankings anyway and this merely softens their numbers.

And no surprises, NZ turns up near the bottom of their (admittedly incomplete) survey of murder rates, with Ireland and Denmark, two of the most criminal nations on earth.

If you want to look at trends in violent crime in NZ, look at the murder rate. It has steadily decreased over time, with the resolution rate increasing to around 90% - http://www.police.govt.nz/service/statistics/2007/calendar/stats-national-20071231.pdf

I actually had no idea about that last statistic, which gives me great confidence in the police. There's a 9/10 chance they'll catch my murderer.

Hans Versluys said...

9/10 chance sounds pretty good unless for the Kahui twins. And does that 9/10 also include the wrongful convictions? Or just getting your man. Any man.