Monday, April 12, 2010

Contradictory crime figures

Reading two pieces back-to-back highlighted a significant error in the first. The error was immediately noticeable and I didn't think I could be bothered blogging about it. But the second caused me to reflect yet again about the misinformation that is spread via the media.

In the NZ Herald, Tapu Misa writes:

Crime went up last year, the biggest real increase in years. Murders were up by 25 per cent, the 65 recorded homicides being the highest in a decade. And violent crime was up by 8 per cent per capita.

In the DomPost, John Hartevelt writes:

Police statistics issued this month showed violent crime was up by 9.2 per cent to 65,465 offences last year. There was a jump in recorded homicide offences – up by more than 20 per cent to 134 last year.

Misa has reported homicides at less than half of the true number. There were 65 murders but it is a significant mistake to interchange the two.

In this column she rails against three strikes, blames increased crime on increased joblessness, discusses the causes of falling crime in the US (including the discredited abortion theory), pans the 'broken windows' revolution and the Californian application of three strikes. All of which is a discussion that will no doubt be addressed by Garth McVicar or David Garrett given the chance (although the NZ Herald doesn't appear to publish responses to Misa).

One theory about a cause of dropping US crime is neglected however. She wouldn't want to find anything in favour of welfare reform.

Strong families and employment are protectors against crime. Both are diminished by out of control welfare. Crime in the US dropped as welfare dependence diminished.

If lower socio-economic men continue to be displaced from their roles as father and provider then more crime is on the cards. And it is guaranteed to continue through to the next generation via any children he produces.


bez said...

It looks like the simplest possible explanation of falling crime rates in the US is neglected, namely the increase of private gun ownership.

Mike said...

I know David Garrett has written for the Herald in his former life, but haven't seen anything since he became an MP. I suspect the Herald just isn't publishing anything he submits to them. (Media are useless at publishing articles and letters written by MPs. This does the public a disservice - shouldn't the media encourage open communication between MPs and their constituents?)

I saw David speak at Maxim's Auckland lecture and Tapu Misa would have done well to have attended herself.
If she had, she would have learnt that the abortion theory rings hollow, and California still has a declining violent crime rate despite 16 percent unemployment. The latter figure makes a mockery of her link between unemployment and violent crime.

David Garrett said...

Lindsay and Mike – this is correct. I would have liked to have written in reply to Tapu Misa’s column, but the Herald has flat-out refused to even consider publishing anything from me since becoming an MP.

I have written something in response on my own blog however – it can be found here

The mainstream media seemingly finds presenting all sides of a story too much work. It’s no wonder their readership’s declining.

Anonymous said...

David, you and Boscowen are basically the only two MPs in parliament we can trust!

It's great you're commenting here! If only the rest of your party would stand up to Key, stand up for our rights, stop borrowing billions to pay benefits, and give the police the tools to shoot down the crime rate, NZ would be a far far better place