New Zealand's crime is falling off, according to a report in the NZ Herald:
New Zealand's crime rate has dropped to an all-time low, latest figures reveal. The annual crime statistics released by the police today showed recorded crime dropped 5.2 per cent on the previous year.Some caveats are in order.
There were 394,522 recorded offences in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, compared with 416,324 the previous year - a decrease of 21,802 offences. New Zealand's population increased by 0.7 per cent during the period, resulting in a 5.9 per cent decrease in the number of offences recorded per 10,000 of population.
This was the lowest number of offences in any fiscal year since 1988-1989, and the lowest crime rate per head of population since before electronic records were maintained, police said.
The first is that one swallow does not a summer make. We would need to see a series of data before a trend could be definitively pronounced. The second is that there was a mega-catastrophe involved--Christchurch earthquakes. The NZ Police (somewhat politely) pointed out that this mega-cat destroyed most of the CBD in that city and it was in the CBD that a great deal of criminal activity took place.
But the big elephant in the room is this: the decline occurred during a time of nation-wide socio-economic restraint and constraint. More people were out of work; more were finding it hard to make ends meet; job uncertainty was prevalent in so many industries; government spending increases have been curtailed, and most households were struggling with too much debt. Why is this interesting? Because the dominant narrative of the pundits when it comes to crime is that poverty and economic deprivation is the biggest driver of criminal activity.
When crime rates are rising or remain stubbornly high the politicians and the Commentariat routinely opine that it is due to the socio-economic disenfranchisement of large swathes of the population. Crime will not be reduced until people have more money and a higher standard of living. Therefore, the "crisis" of higher crime rates is used to purchase politicians and voters to agree to more welfare, more government programmes in low socio-economic areas (aka ghettoes), and more education spending--more confiscation and redistribution in general.
These recent results put that thesis under question in no slight manner. Precisely at the time when we have had the most difficult economic circumstances of the past twenty years, crime has dropped. No doubt the causes have been multi-valent, but rising prosperity has not been one of them. Ergo, the correlation between rising crime rates and economic hardship and social deprivation is looking to be close to zero, if not negative.
But for inveterate social-welfare egalitarians such facts will never be allowed to get in the way of a good story. They remain too ideologically hidebound ever to accept facts that get in the way of their socialistic narrative. And, lest we forget, at the heart of that narrative is the proposition that all human activity--even to the extent of how one thinks and what one believes--is formed, shaped, conditioned, and created by one's socio-economic environment and circumstances. Change the circumstances and, hey presto, a new model man will emerge.
That's why confiscation and redistribution of people's property ever remains at the operational core of the socialist world-view.