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.

        • 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”.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government caves to multi-national tax avoiders in the shadows
    News that the Government has secretly caved in to the demands of multi-national tax avoiders come as no surprise, but will disappoint Kiwi taxpayers, says Labour’s spokesman for Revenue Michael Wood.   “It has been revealed that a United States ...
    48 mins ago
  • Cheaper to stay at The Langham than emergency housing motels
    Labour’s comprehensive plan to fix the housing crisis and ensure there’s enough state housing, means we won’t be paying through the nose for emergency accommodation like the current Government has to, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “National has ...
    2 hours ago
  • Government must come clean on water
      News that the National Government is secretly working behind closed doors on its own water charging schemes shows their utter hypocrisy on this issue, says Labour’s water spokesperson David Parker.  “They have been carping on about Labour’s plan for ...
    6 hours ago
  • Government pays twice the price for emergency housing motels – with two more on the way
    Under Labour’s plan to build at least 1000 state houses each year, New Zealand wouldn’t be paying more than double the valuations for motels to house Kiwis needing emergency housing, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Under questioning today, ...
    1 day ago
  • HAM shows country needs Labour on housing
    The latest Housing Affordability Measure report shows affordability dramatically worsening for Auckland first home buyers, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 day ago
  • Canterbury kids get more support for mental health
    Children in Canterbury and Kaikoura will get dedicated mental health support to help them overcome the trauma of the earthquakes, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We’ll fund an extra eighty mental health professionals for the next three ...
    1 day ago
  • Statement on Julie Bishop’s comments
    It is highly regrettable that the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has chosen to make false claims about the New Zealand Labour Party. I have been utterly transparent about this situation. I stand by my statements this morning that I ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour stands with Pike families
    A Labour Government will stand with the families of Pike River and reaffirm its commitment to safe workplaces by ensuring there will be a Minister responsible for Pike River, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “The Pike River disaster ...
    2 days ago
  • Yes to Sallies – Labour will build more state houses
    The Salvation Army’s latest report ‘Taking Stock’ shows why New Zealand needs a Labour-led Government committed to a massive house building programme, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “When the Sallies say the country needs 2000 extra state houses a ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealanders deserve better than scaremongering over water
    New Zealanders need to hear from National about how they will fund the clean-up of our rivers and lakes for future generations. Instead, National has broadened its scare-mongering, says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. ...
    3 days ago
  • School Leavers’ Toolkit to equip young people for adult life
    Labour will give school leavers the practical skills and knowledge they need for adult life with a new School Leavers’ Toolkit, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Our teachers and schools do a great job of teaching our children ...
    3 days ago
  • Pay equity to be a priority for Labour
      Labour will make sure that the country’s mental health workers are a priority when it comes to pay equity negotiations, says the Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “It is very important for me to right the wrong created ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour’s positive education plan
    Today’s announcement on learning support is more tinkering and proof that only a Labour Government will deliver the resources that schools and parents are crying out for, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “We have a positive vision for a ...
    6 days ago
  • Pike footage raises questions over government’s actions
    The Government’s seeming determination to turn a blind eye to new questions about what happened at Pike River Mine is troubling, says Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor. ...
    6 days ago
  • Solution to rent rises lies in building houses and stopping speculators
    The spread of rental increases from the big cities to the surrounding regions shows why we need to get on top of the housing shortage build homes our families can afford, and lock out the speculators, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Clean rivers don’t cost $18 a cabbage
    National is falling into a bad pattern of promising the world and not saying how they will fund it, says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for honest answer on transport funding
    National needs to explain how they will fund the $6 billion funding gap in their 10-year Auckland transport plan, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for true numbers on overseas speculators
    It’s time for the Government to give accurate figures on the number of houses being bought by overseas speculators, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Raymond Huo. ...
    1 week ago
  • Fair and sustainable trade: A Green Party vision for New Zealand’s trading relationships
    Trade is a cornerstone of the New Zealand economy. It provides us with the things we want and need, and enables us to pay for those with exports that generate business opportunities and jobs. However, it should be recognised that ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Clean rivers for future generations
    Labour will lead a nationwide effort to restore our rivers and lakes to a clean, swimmable state, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand really can do better on health
    Labour’s commitment to affordable access to high quality healthcare will provide a better service for New Zealanders than the current Health Minister, who will not apologise for statements that he made that wrongly criticised hard-working staff in the Southern DHB’s ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan the answer to motorway chaos
    Labour’s plan to build a light rail network and improve heavy rail and bus services across Auckland is the only answer to the kind of motorway congestion Aucklanders endured this morning, says Labour Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to build rail to Auckland Airport
    A world class city needs a rail connection from the CBD to its international airport – that’s why Labour will build light rail to Auckland Airport as a priority, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Let’s get Auckland moving ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Is pay equity just too hard for this Govt?
    You are hard pressed these days to find someone that openly admits their misogyny, that men should still be paid more than women. Politicians proclaim that they want to see women paid more, but do their actions back it up? ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s commitment to our Rainbow nation
    The Labour Party has reaffirmed its commitment to New Zealand’s rainbow community with its 2017 Rainbow policy, featuring the goal to end HIV in New Zealand by 2025. Grant Robertson says Labour continues a long and proud tradition of advocating ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s vision for Auckland more than reheated roads
    Labour is more ambitious for Auckland than the reheated set of transport projects proposed by National, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Waiting urology patients are the tip of the iceberg
    The 10 patients waiting for urology surgery at Dunedin Hospital are just the tip of the iceberg, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.  "Hundreds of patients are waiting for follow-up appointments, but they are not deemed serious enough to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Landowners Misled by Maori Party
    Māori landowners are being misled by Government hui being held throughout the country promoting the troubled Māori Land Service (MLS), which underpins the Crown’s unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Johnny-come-lately approach to multinational tax won’t wash
    It’s a case of baby steps for a Government that still allows multinational companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “After nine years in government, five years after the issue of multinational ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Auckland congestion up there with the world’s worst
    Traffic congestion is costing Auckland up to $2 billion in lost productivity according to the latest report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood.  “This is a disaster and underlines the need for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Experience in Youth Parliament 2016
    Being a Member of Youth Parliament was an unexpected, but fabulous opportunity for me. It provided me a way to connect with other young people who have some things in common, and to learn what it is like to be ...
    GreensBy NZ Green Party
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour backs renters’ call for warm, healthy homes
    80 per cent of renters wish their home was warmer and drier, and that’s what Labour will deliver, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We can – and must – do better for Kiwi jobs
    Labour has the plan to get more young New Zealanders into jobs and tackle concerns raised in the latest statistics which show an extra 3000 young Kiwis are neither earning or learning compared to the same time last year, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement from Jacinda Ardern, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party
    I want to start by giving my thanks to Andrew. His announcement today and the situation we have found ourselves in is not what anyone expected or wanted In my time working with Andrew I know one thing to be ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better homes for Maori under Labour
    Labour’s vision is that Māori enjoy an equal playing field and have the same home ownership opportunities as non-Māori, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “Today Labour is proud to announce a detailed Māori housing policy from South Auckland’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour to build replacement for Gorge Road
    Labour will build a new road to replace the Manawatu Gorge Road as quickly as possible, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government suppresses better transport options for Auckland
    A newly-revealed un-redacted report into options for Auckland freight movement shows the Government has been actively trying to suppress more efficient and cost-effective options to construct a third rail line, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood. “While Auckland’s congestion gets ...
    3 weeks ago
  • How to vote and keep your info private
    Going to vote or enrolling to vote can be scary. Having your details out there can open a can of worms. I wish we lived in a country where everyone was safe and secure enough to be openly enrolled, but ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Coleman’s lost control of his Ministry
    Basic blunders and chronic underfunding revealed in Treasury documents obtained by Labour clearly show Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has lost control of his ministry, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “Every New Zealander deserves affordable access to quality healthcare but ...
    3 weeks ago

%d bloggers like this: