As you know, crime is down in New Zealand, which is not surprising – crime is a symptom of social deprivation and we’ve had eight years of high employment and rising incomes easing that deprivation. But reported violent crime is up. Why?
One reason is 35% of the increase is in the “threats and intimidation” category of violent crime (where no actual violence occurs) and the Police say this is due to the rise of cellphones, which allow minor incidents that would once have not been reported to be quickly called in. The other reason is that domestic violence is becoming less acceptable in our communities and more highly reported.
I can hear the righties working themselves up already. So here’s the evidence:
Over the last ten years, violent crime outside the home has fallen while reported domestic violence has increased.
But that could mean there actually is more domestic violence, not just more reporting, right? Well, consider domestic homicides. That’s domestic violence that has ended in someone being killed. The thing about homicides is they are (nearly) always reported so the reporting rate is constant near 100%, and we can see that the number of domestic violence incidents ending in homicide is falling even as the reported incidents of domestic violence increases.
This indicates that the actual level domestic violence is falling (or it is, inexplicably, becoming less deadly) and the increase in the reported violent crime stats is due to more reporting.
That’s good news on two fronts. There is less actual crime and more of the crime that does happen is being reported. And that is exactly what we would expect to happen when we have had a strong period of reduction in social deprivation and an increased emphasis on tackling domestic violence from the Government and community organisations.