Child offending up with higher unemployment

Written By: - Date published: 10:55 am, March 15th, 2010 - 8 comments
Categories: crime, unemployment - Tags:

The Herald has a little shock piece on child offending: “5-year-old sex offender on crime list“. Of course, what the offence was isn’t mentioned and there’s good reasons why children aren’t held legally responsible for their actions.

There is an interesting sentence though:

“Although the numbers are slightly up on the previous year, they are about half those of a decade ago.”

I went to Stats and got the full numbers. And, guess what, they’re tightly linked to the unemployment rate:

Unemployment is an affliction on society that creates poverty and alienation, which leads to an array of negative social outcomes including crime. Now, we see that isn’t just limited to adults who can find no work, it extends to the kids as well.

One more reason why John Key’s Do Nothing Government, and vainglorious Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, in particular need to get serious about getting the 276,000 jobless Kiwis back into work.

[PS I haven’t adjusted the graph for population growth, no time. It won’t have a significant effect on the correlation though]

8 comments on “Child offending up with higher unemployment”

  1. prism 1

    Surprising correlation with unemployment in adults. Also the widening gap between about 1994-1998, did record keeping change then, as after then the trend for the young offenders follows unemployment,

    My concept of society is that we should regard ourselves as a bunch of lettuces, fresh and crisp in good growing conditions, but always with some fragility, and in adverse conditions many of us wilt and may rot. It seems to be the way that humans react and I think we should recognise our fragility, and the harm that unemployment and other adverse happenings can have.

    Counsellors use an adverse effects point scale, and people in depression can understand that when they start scoring high on this life shock scale, they are very likely feeling the hurt from cumulative troublesome events such as being evicted from their house, getting electricity cut off, death in the family, sickness, demands for payment without the funds to meet them and so on. Unemployment can mean all that and a visit to WINZ and very possibly a disdainful clerk or maybe insufficient money is made available. It all adds up to fertile ground for a retreat from control over living conditions and stability.

  2. Your left axis is labelled “number of offenders”. This is wrong for at least one year – 2005 – so it may be wrong for others. In 2005 there were 1048 offences – not offenders. One child can be responsible for multiple offences.

    http://www.justice.govt.nz/publications/global-publications/c/conviction-and-sentencing-of-offenders-in-new-zealand-1996-to-2005/7-young-offenders

    • Bright Red 2.1

      yeah, looks like he meant offences but wrote offenders.

      Do you actually dispute the argument in the post, lindsay? ie. unemployment leads to greater child offending? Looks like you’re tryng to avoid that by nitpicking.

      And what kind of self-proclaimed leading commentator are you when you’re relying on outdated stats, rather than just going to the stats website?

  3. Bright Red, The line seemingly relates to offenders at 2009 but offences at 2005. There can’t be argument or agreement until the actual trend is established. And even then policing policy may be playing a big part. The article says;

    “Mr Harrison said police engagement with the community, including having officers in schools, probably explained the decrease in the number of young offenders.

    The police youth services manager for the Auckland district, Senior Sergeant Alan Rowland, said police, Child, Youth and Family and school programmes encouraged early intervention with children who had behavioural problems.”

    There has also been a steady decline in the 0-9 year old population from a peak in 1998-99.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      no lindsay you idiot. It’s all the data series from stats on number of offences. I found the same numbers myself in about two minutes. look at the tablebuilder.

      “There has also been a steady decline in the 0-9 year old population from a peak in 1998-99.”

      that wouldn’t explain the uptick this year or why the offending tracks unemployment so tightly

  4. Bright Red, read the Herald article;

    “They were among 716 children aged under nine who were reprimanded in the 2008/09 financial year for offences from unlawfully taking a bicycle and possession of cannabis to threatening to kill and assault with a weapon.”

    Table builder shows that there were 716 offences committed by 0-9 year-olds. Not that there were 716 offenders. Either Statistics NZ or the Herald is wrong. The number of offences and offenders would not match. Unless the police are now only counting them once in a year. A departure from what they were doing. In which case the trend line is not a true representation.

  5. Marty

    “…the line is all offences.”

    The OIA response given to the Herald indicates that 716 (the exact same number for ‘offences’ in the table finder) is actually offenders.

    In 2005, about the calendar year figure of 1048 (very similar to the table finder figure for fiscal year of 1061) the Ministry of Justice said; “The figures in this table do not refer to distinct offenders, as people who are apprehended for more than one offence are counted once for each offence. ”

    (I gave you the link above.)

    Either the Herald made a mistake and the number of offences is 716,

    or they are right and the number of offenders is 716 (putting the number of offences significantly higher) and the police changed the way they recorded offending some time after 2005.

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