Thursday, April 29, 2010

Youth offending - treat reports with caution

I have long since stopped relying on media reports about reports. It is time consuming but if you come across a report about a report that interests, go straight to the horse's mouth. Today's NZ Herald report about a report is a good example of the wrong impression partial reporting can create;

Youth offending falls further in latest figures

That's great, isn't it?

The report is 208 pages long and I think the journalist covering it must have gotten tired about mid-way through. I certainly did. But I was looking for the whole story.

For instance;

OK. So we cannot infer very much at all by falling apprehension rates. Just as we cannot infer much at all by climbing prosecution rates but what the hell, we may as well look at them. They do form the larger part of the report despite the media coverage not mentioning it at all. (It may be that the writer is planning a further instalment.)

So significant increases in the rates of prosecution. This backs up the increasing severity of offending seen in apprehensions.

Of course no report about crime would be complete without some ethnicity analysis. Therein lies a shocking picture. Yes. I am still shocked by the disparity between European and Maori in so many sets of social statistics.

1 in 20 young Maori is prosecuted in court compared to 1 in 100 young European.

So the overall picture looks like this.

Let's finish with a quote from the report on the report from Judge Andrew Becroft;

Principal Youth Court Judge Andrew Becroft said the statistics punched a hole in the popular perception that youth offending was "spiralling out of control".

Draw your own conclusions.

No comments: