They say there has been a ‘spike’ in gang tensions, in youth crime, in ram raids, in violence, and in shootings. Don’t for one second think this is true. Moreover, don’t think this trend in the increase in all of these things hasn’t been totally predicted or forewarned. This is not a ‘spike’. It is the beginning of a new upward trend.
The biggest problem we are having with Labour and their left-wing cheerleaders is that they think the justice system is bad, that accountability is bad, that punishment and justice is bad. They truly believe that the way out of this so-called ‘spike’ is to take it easy on the youth and everything will magically be ok.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with focusing on rehabilitation, or second chances or on attending to the root causes of youth crime. But the problem of crime in our country is not binary. What the current government wants to do is drop all forms of punishment and accountability, avoid prosecution and instead give ‘wrap around support’. Whatever that means.
To highlight the real issues we have here, like I have said many many times before, the government are hiding behind some meaningless statistics and pretending that everything is ok.
Take the recent youth crime statistics – they apparently are going down and the media like to report that they are going down, so does the Minister of Justice. The problem with the ‘youth crime’ statistics is they don’t measure ‘youth crime’, at all. If you take a closer look, they only measure the number of youth entering the court system. Not the number of offences, not the number of arrests, not the number of victims, not the number of times police pick these kids up. Problem being, as you all know, youth don’t get prosecuted when caught by police, if they are caught, so they never end up in court. Even the Ministry of Justice admits this in their youth crime reports – albeit in fine print at the bottom of the page. I’m not making this stuff up:
“Numbers and rates from 2015/16 to 2018/19 should be interpreted with caution…updates primarily affected non-court actions against youth. Additionally, in late 2018 a change was made to how Youth offending is recorded in Police systems.”
That all means the police are the gatekeepers to youth court – if they don’t prosecute, they don’t get counted. Even if police give them warnings or alternate action, they still wont get counted as a number in the youth crime statistics.
Add to all of this, the fact that when the report records “youth offending” it also notes in the fine print that a youth offender who counts towards the “offending rates” could offend multiple times but will only ever be counted once.
It is fully bizarre how some media outlets cannot understand that the stats showing a ‘drop in youth entering court’ is not the same as a ‘drop in youth crime – even when they write it themselves:
But what must concern Kiwis the most is how the minister tries to use these statistics to defend the governments policies – which are not working. Every Kiwi with an ounce of commonsense can see it’s not working. So either the minister knows these statistics she is using are misleading and carries on anyway, or the minister doesn’t know and truly believes the government’s own rhetoric around youth crime coming down. I think it’s the latter.
This is why this increase in youth crime is not just a ‘spike’: it will continue to increase until someone realises the system is broken.
Former NZ First MP Darroch Ball was elected to the New Zealand parliament at the 2014 general election, is currently co-leader and spokesperson for the Sensible Sentencing Trust. This article was published HERE