Conviction, sentencing stats show crime down

  • Judith Collins

Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice today show the number of people being charged in court has reduced by more than 20 per cent since 2009, Justice Minister Judith Collins says.

The Conviction and Sentencing Statistics, published on the Statistics New Zealand website, show 98,783 people appeared in court in 2012, down 7 per cent from 2011 and 22 per cent from 2009.

The Child and Youth Prosecution Statistics, also published today, show the rate of children and young people being charged in court is the lowest in 20 years and down 40 per cent since 2007 to 3,018.

“These figures confirm what we already know – that crime is falling and New Zealand is becoming a safer place to live.

“The results show that this government’s strong commitment to making our communities safer is working,” Ms Collins says.

The number of people charged with a violent offence has dropped 17 per cent over the last four years, after steadily increasing between 2004 and 2009.

“Reversing of the violent offence trend is particularly pleasing because violent offences are responsible for the most harm in our communities,” Ms Collins says.

74 per cent of the people charged in court are convicted, and 10 per cent of those are sent to prison. For every 10,000 people in New Zealand, 22 were sentenced to prison in 2012 compared with 25 in 2011.

The most common sentence imposed is a fine or reparation (39 per cent), while 17 per cent get a community sentence and 28 per cent community work.

Along with the general reduction in youth convictions, the number of children and young people convicted in an adult court for serious offences has dropped from 500 to 199 in the last five years. Children and young people now make up less than 3 per cent of the total people charged in court in New Zealand.

“Fewer children and young people coming before our courts is an encouraging sign. We know that a key to reducing crime is to stop young people entering the court and justice system in the first place,” Ms Collins says.

The statistics also show:

  • In the adult court, charges for most offence types have decreased compared with 2011.
  • In 2012, most offences charged in court were low level offences. For example, the two main categories of offences are traffic and vehicle regulatory offences, and offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations.
  • People charged with the most serious violent offences were more likely to be sentenced to imprisonment, and for longer periods than those convicted of less serious offence types in 2012.

Statistics are available at and