Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's the same old song.....

According to Jim Anderton,

Around 1.2 people out of every hundred thousand are homicide victims. That is a significant drop from around 1.5 per hundred thousand in the early eighties. In the late eighties, the rate of homicides soared to 2.0 out of every 100,000 population. So New Zealand is a lot less violent today than it was then.

Wouldn't it be better to measure how violent New Zealand is by convictions for violence? Even that measure is inadequate because first the violence has to be reported and then, successfully prosecuted. But below are the violent convictions from 1980 to 2006. On that basis New Zealand is more violent now than in the late eighties.

So why would Jim seek to persuade us that NZ was more violent in the 80s?

Violent death rates rose very steeply in the late eighties, stayed high in the nineties and have since begun to come down. What else was going on that could explain the crime wave?

The pattern of violence follows exactly a pattern of economic devastation. When unemployment rocketed and families were hammered by hard economic times, offending rose dramatically.

But Jim, the pattern of violence, when charted by convictions does not follow your "pattern of economic devastation". How do you explain that?

NZ has, according to you "neared full employment", yet violence is still widespread - and that's just the violence we know about.

You know what Jim? We haven't neared full employment at all. And that is why we still have intolerable crime. We have high unemployment hidden by reliance on benefits other than the dole. We have violent youths coming out of workless, dysfunctional homes which turn on the DPB. We have violent youths coming out of gang homes whose staple diet is welfare. The correlation between benefit dependence and crime is stronger than the one between unemployment and crime.

Give up on blaming the economic reforms and start looking at the individuals who will not help themselves or their children.

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