web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Collins fudging crime stats?

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, May 2nd, 2011 - 10 comments
Categories: crime, making shit up - Tags:

Police Minister Judith Collins’ announcement that crime dropped last year left more than a few people scratching their heads. The economic conditions, especially high unemployment, should mean more crime, not less. Now, we’re starting to learn the answer: procedural changes that have wiped thousands of crimes off the stats.

Officially, there were 25,000 fewer crimes last year than in 2009. But it turns out that entire drop can be accounted for by reductions in the numbers of just 35 of the 837 offences. In fact, just 7 offences (all fraud or ‘offence against justice’ offences) that, between them, make up 3% of all crimes made up 21% of the reduction in crime:

2009 2010 change
Take/Obtain/Use Doc for Pecuniary Advantage 5070 3602 -1468
Failure To Answer District Court Bail 5574 4309 -1265
Take/Obtain/Use Cred/Bank Crd To Pecuniary Advantage 2795 1779 -1016
Obtain By Deception (Under $500) 1812 1160 -652
Failure To Answer Police Bail 1612 1143 -469
Other Miscellaneous Offences Against Justice 1386 933 -453
Total Offences 451405 426345 -25060

Each of these offences had mysterious drops of between 23% and 36% in a single year.

The Sunday-Star Times has details on why this happened. The fraud cases went down because:

Previously, a fraudster who made 30 transactions on a stolen credit card would face 30 charges, but now he or she would face only one, with all the counts listed in an attached schedule.

while offences against justice fell because

as of early last year, those on bail were no longer required to report to police.

and

many breaches of bail, such as curfew violations, were formerly recorded as offences when they should have been recorded as “incidents”. Education of frontline staff was resolving that.

It’s easy to make the crime rate drop – just stop charging people with offences.

Sure, sometimes practices change – like in 2005 when a new computer system caused recorded offences to jump 8% – but it’s dishonest to claim, as Collins has, that the result of a change in the way crime is measured is actually a change in crime levels.

National’s claim to have reduced crime (at least compared to the rise in their first year) is a bit like their claim to have increased Kiwi incomes. They can throw all the distorted statistics that they like at us but we all know the truth from our everyday experience. This country is going backwards under National.

I wonder which other classes of offence have been similarly interfered with to make the stats look better. And I wonder what involvement Collins had in those decisions.

PS. Any cars crushed yet, Crusher?

10 comments on “Collins fudging crime stats?”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    as well I seem to remember that the police themselves are now collating the data instead of an independent source.
    newspaper reports in Australia find the stats section of the police are routinely asked to ‘change’ the numbers for local cops who want to make their ‘patch’ not look so bad.

  2. Statistics ought to be valuable information that assist us in working out what is happening. In the hands of Collins they are a crude weapon to be used to club her opponents no matter how inaccurate they are.

    • todd 2.1

      It’s a travesty that National have used various means to hoodwink the public into believing they’re doing their jobs. I suspect that the media will give this information little coverage and thus leave many believing the crime rate has fallen. This is clearly a debate the Natz will not like to have.

      We’ve seen similar untruthful reporting with the cost of living and inflation debate. It’s not only that National are trying to make themselves clean again after their bloody rampage against the people, they’re using untruthful mechanisms that will ultimately damage New Zealands ability to heal itself in the future.

      The problem with Collins welding an inaccurate club around is not in her imprecision… It’s that Phil Goff is standing still in a media quagmire, going “here I am, come and get me.” We can only hope that the crusher and crew will knock themselves out in their blinding anticipation of a second term in Government.

      • M 2.1.1

        I’ve seen the flick ‘Freakonomics’ and it showed how sometimes things appear to be linked and sometimes how statistical results can be misused, one of the vignettes being about crime in the New York.

        Rudy Giuliani tried to claim that the dramatic drop in crime was due to the fantastic efforts of focusing on petty crime, better policing etc. Steven Levitt posited that it was Roe vs Wade that had led to a drop in crime given that if children were not born to mothers who did not want them would not grow up knowing they were unwanted, neglected and living in less than ideal circumstances, so therefore at the time they would be making their forays into the criminal world they simply wouldn’t be there. He was not making an argument for or against abortion but pointing out that there could be a link.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCH_OewK_KI&feature=related

        • Campbell Larsen 2.1.1.1

          @M – the puzzling thing is that the stats haven’t really been used for anything – other than to alert the MSM to the fact that the govt had changed the methodology of charging criminals and collecting the data – Collins’ said it was a temporary decrease, ostensibly so funding for the Dept of Justice could be maintained or increased – but it was really like saying ‘hey look over here, we are fudging the numbers, please someone pick up on it’

          Fiddling the stats was lame but given the clumsy attempt I doubt it was the end game.

          People are finding it more and more difficult just to live, our govt like so many has fingered the GFC as the reason, NZ’ers don’t want to focus on a side issue like crime nearly as much as we want to address the problems that are apparently to blame for all our woes.

          I’m sure National would love for people to be debating this distraction more but we all have bigger fish to fry.

  3. Jum 3

    I know I often say that NAct will stop at nothing to regain power in 2011-14, but the bottomless pit they are sinking into is surprising even me!

  4. Campbell Larsen 4

    There is no denying that something strange is going on here – the question as to what exactly is not yet clear.

    Why manipulate the stats so blatantly?
    How come the Herald picked up on it even before the stats were used for political milage?
    Is this just an around about way to get law and order debated? If it is the alternate media that comes out and says ‘crime is on the rise’ then we still end up talking about a side issue, rather than the reason why, ie poverty and income inequality.
    Do the Nats have more to gain from saying that th

  5. many breaches of bail, such as curfew violations, were formerly recorded as offences when they should have been recorded as “incidents”. Education of frontline staff was resolving that.

    It’s easy to make the crime rate drop – just stop charging people with offences

    As well they bloody should in many situations, including minor breaches of bail or parole. Missing an appointment with your parole officer (unless you were busy committing a crime at the time) ought not to be an offence. Getting home late from a mate’s place because you wanted to see how the movie ended, thus breaching youyr bail curfew, ought not to be an offence.

    Previously they were considered as such; now they’re not. Good job, I say.

    Similarly with the nonsense of multiple charges around what was really the one incident. I steal a chequebook which happens to have 30 cheques and use them all, I get 30 charges; you pinch one with only 10 left so you get 10 charges. We both committed the same crime – any difference in extent, intent or anything else can be dealt with at sentencing.

    Over-charging by the police to make an accused person look like a serial offender when in fact they were no such thing is a major pain in the ass when trying to defend people, specially in a busy Magistrate’s court where the judge pretty much notices only the headlines, specially in a guilty plea.

    I’d expect Collins to be fudging the figures up to justify further eroding our freedoms to protect us from the lawless society in which we supposedly live.

    While undoubtedly she’s milking these changes for political advantage (and what Minister wouldn’t?) the changes they reflect are actually positive.

    And provided any journalist reporting them does the perfunctory analysis necessary (and let’s face it, if the Sunday Star Times fails to take something at face value then the actual facts must be astoundingly obvious) then Collins’ posturing is shown for what it is.

  6. marsman 6

    Crooked Collins?

  7. Sean 7

    It’s like they watched The Wire for lessons in “dukin’ the stats”.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Taxpayers not suckers when it comes to casino lemon
    The Government should not be asking New Zealanders to stump up extra cash to bail out John Key and Steven Joyce’s dodgy SkyCity convention centre deal, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. "A deal is a deal is a deal. SkyCity… ...
    3 days ago
  • Supreme Court decision an early Christmas present
    Women on low pay in New Zealand have been given an early Christmas present with yesterday’s decision by  the Supreme Court not to intervene in a decision of the Court of Appeal, says Labour's Spokesperson for Women's Affairs, Sue Moroney. … ...
    3 days ago
  • Dunedin Hospital needs more than drip feed
    An ongoing and embarrassing pattern of major building leaks and equipment failures at Dunedin Public Hospital has been revealed in papers released under the Official Information Act, Dunedin North MP David Clark says. “Documents released under the Official Information Act… ...
    4 days ago
  • Dunedin Hospital needs more than drip feed
    An ongoing and embarrassing pattern of major building leaks and equipment failures at Dunedin Public Hospital has been revealed in papers released under the Official Information Act, Dunedin North MP David Clark says. “Documents released under the Official Information Act… ...
    4 days ago
  • 17 too young for teens to be shown the door
    Laws which see young people under the care of CYFS abandoned once they turn 17 will mean at least a dozen young Kiwis will be left to fend for themselves over the December festive season, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda  Ardern… ...
    4 days ago
  • 17 too young for teens to be shown the door
    Laws which see young people under the care of CYFS abandoned once they turn 17 will mean at least a dozen young Kiwis will be left to fend for themselves over the December festive season, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda  Ardern… ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s albatross, taxpayers’ curse
    Government consideration of further corporate welfare hand-outs to SkyCity for its convention centre shows just how weak the original contract was, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says. “Taxpayers will be appalled to hear that on top of the humiliating… ...
    4 days ago
  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    6 days ago
  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    6 days ago
  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    6 days ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    7 days ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    7 days ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    7 days ago
  • Gerry Brownlee’s revolving airport door story
    A new report shows Gerry Brownlee is the latest Cabinet Minister to have contracted the infectious tell-porkies-until-you-are-caught disease, Labour’s Chief Whip Chris Hipkins says. “A Civil Aviation Report out today shows that despite being an extremely recognisable figure, Gerry Brownlee… ...
    7 days ago
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction
    Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • Way opening for April Sun in Cuba
    The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Failure to diversify puts prosperity at risk
    Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says. "National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its… ...
    1 week ago
  • Ombudsman probe targets Ministerial integrity
    John Key is on notice that the entrenched cynical and manipulative abuse of official information requests by his Government will no longer be tolerated, Labour’s Open Government spokesperson Clare Curran says. “The announcement by the Ombudsman of a wide-ranging review… ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English’s face is redder than his books
    The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister closes down dissent on climate change
    Minister closes down dissent on climate change In a threatening letter to Maori leaders, Minister for Climate Change Tim Groser says he will be requiring future international delegations to toe the party line, Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems… ...
    GreensBy James Shaw MP
    2 weeks ago
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere