Action Plan to keep crime falling

  • Judith Collins

Justice Minister Judith Collins says the Government’s Better Public Services plan to reduce crime and reoffending is a comprehensive programme of smart, practical actions to make New Zealand safer.

Launched in Auckland today, the ‘Reducing Crime and Reoffending Result Action Plan’ sets out the actions the sector will take to achieve the Better Public Services targets of reducing the crime rate by 15 per cent, violent crime by 20 per cent, youth crime by 5 per cent and reoffending by 25 per cent.

“We’re focusing on six key areas, with a series of specific actions under each. We’re going to target high-crime locations, provide strong support for people at risk of repeat victimisation, improve interventions for vulnerable youth, reduce the availability of alcohol, increase availability of alcohol and drug treatment - both in prison and in the community – and invest in reintegration and rehabilitation for offenders.

“We’re throwing the weight of the justice sector - 22,000 staff and a budget of $3.8 billion each year - behind these targets. They are particularly ambitious given the reductions already gained, as continuing to reduce crime will get more difficult every year.”

Ms Collins says the plan is about locking in success and keeping crime falling.

“2011 saw the lowest crime rate in thirty years. Resolution rates continue to increase, and even violent crime – which had been rising – has stabilised. But for a victim of crime, that one crime is too many. Even on top of recent gains, achieving these targets will mean 112,000 fewer crimes between now and 2017 – and thousands fewer victims.

“We know a lot about crime – where it tends to occur, who it tends to affect, and the underlying factors that contribute to criminal behaviour. We’re taking what we know and turning it into comprehensive action across the justice and wider social sectors,” Ms Collins says.

The facts:

  • Location is one of the strongest predictors of crime – particularly property crime, such as burglary, vehicle theft and shoplifting, which makes up two-thirds of all crime.
  • 6 per cent of adults experience 54 per cent of all crime – this small group are victimised five or more times.
  • The earlier a person begins offending, the greater their odds of reoffending. 17-19 year olds appearing in the adult court system for the first time are 2.3 times more likely to reoffend if they have a youth court history.
  • 51 per cent of crimes are committed under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol is implicated in 35 per cent of apprehensions for assaults, 18 per cent of apprehensions for sexual assaults and 49 per cent of apprehensions for disorderly conduct.
  • Over 60 per cent of prisoners are unemployed prior to imprisonment and 90 per cent of prisoners have high literacy needs. Unemployment is also very high among offenders serving their sentence in the community. 65 per cent of sentenced offenders have a drug or alcohol problem.