web analytics

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

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago