Once again the media is doing it’s best to keep the masses scared and misinformed.
Let me explain myself. I am not a fan of the so-called polls that the two major online news organisations run daily on their web sites. Both Stuff’s and The Herald’s online polls are poor snapshots of reality, and with some of the strangest questions being asked (we all know the Fait accompli questions or even worse the GW Bush ‘you’re either with us or against us’ questions).
What does this question mean?
“What should be done to improve the lot of NZ’s wayward youth?”
Yikes, I was only out of the country for 6 months and the children are revolting so much so that John Key is going to bring the stick back and the media is in a frenzy? See you turn your back for one second…
Well according to the answers supplied, we could either:
Keep them in school until age 18 (838 votes, 9.3%)
Put them in boot camp (5321 votes, 59.1%)
More guidance councillors in schools (692 votes, 7.7%)
Fines for slack parents (2151 votes, 23.9%)
The last one, a suggestion from the party of the people haters, is a real gem. So we fine the parents. The very people whom are often struggling with their kids in the first place. We disadvantage those whom are possibly in the most need. I wonder do we fine Paul Homes for his wayward daughters drug offenses? No no we go after those whom we imagine are just lazy buggers willing to let their kids run riot. Pathetic.
Back to the polls and the fear mongering that the media just loves whipping up. We all remember the terror that was sweeping the nation when it seemed every second night there was a home invasion, or dog attack or one person out of 6 billion odd people might have died from Bird Flu (how’s your expiring TamiFlu stocks?). Well this years beating bag is the poor youth, and it seems that they are conspiring to bring this country to it’s knees with a crime spree that will not stop.
So the latest Poll, related to the poor buggers as you will see in the results, shows that despite the stastics showing that there isn’t in fact a youth crime wave sweeping the country over the last 1-2 years, the public still think Helen Clark’s govt needs to make that it’s priority this year, as you will see in the graph below.
But how does this equate to the facts:
The total number of Police apprehensions of 14 to 16 year olds remained stable over the period 1995 to 2006 at around 31,000 apprehensions each year.
Surely this can’t be the case? John Key in his vision for NZ speech claimed that and I quote “Violent youth crime is at an all-time high”. So this high has apparently been with us since the previous National Govt and during this current Labour Govt.
But the statistics tell us:
In 2006, over half of youth apprehensions were for property offences (18,828 apprehensions or 62%). In fact, in 2006, the 14 to 16 age group had the highest apprehension rate of any age group for property offences.
But I thought they were into violent crime, you know the stuff that really causes terror and brings the country trembling to it’s knees. How is it then in 1992 there were 7 homicides by youth and in 2006 there were 4 (with a peak of 11 and a low of 1). Yes violent crime overall by youth has increased markedly 1992-2006 39% for youth and 22% for Adults, with the youth population increasing 19% over that period. There is some good reading amongst all of this though.
In 2006, the overall youth apprehension rate was the lowest recorded over the 1995 to 2006 period at 1,591 apprehensions per 10,000 population. More young males than females were apprehended; between 77% and 80% of apprehensions of young people over the period 1995 to 2006 were of males. When the population increase is taken into account, the apprehension rate for both young males and females actually declined over the period.
See how easy it is to lie to the country in such a way as to create the illusion of greater than actual terror, in this section of the Key speech. The aforementioned
“unexploded time-bombs on a fast-track to Paremoremo.
But what are they doing that’s so bloody bad as to have us all in such fear, well aparently it’s not safe to live in the North Shore.
“The victims are people like you and me. Innocent Kiwis randomly beaten by teens on the North Shore.”
Thank Christ I live in the South Island – Dunedin in fact, you know ‘The Bain Murders’ and ‘Aramoana’, only mass murder, still at least we don’t have youth crime randomly beating innocent kiwis.
The violent crime that Key and the media are in fact talking about accounts for 12% of all youth crime. Sure that’s a depressingly high figure, as it equates to 3,743 apprehensions. And strange that convictions for youth crime peaked at 25/10,000 in 1997, two years before Labour got into power. And since Labour got into power, the convictions for youth offenders has dropped from 23 per 10,000 to 14/10,000. I’d say that is a good thing, isn’t it?
You see according to Key
A 14-year-old arrested at the weekend for a fatal stabbing in Tokoroa.
Did he mention in that speech there was also an arrest of a 50 year old ‘business man’ (like that means something more than youth lay-abouts), who killed a 15 year old boy for allegedly tagging.
Also what is a Housing New Zealand employee (not a youth) doing with his 6th drink driving conviction, back at work after only 6 months of a year long sentence
“The woman injured by a Housing New Zealand manager on his sixth drink-driving conviction says she is flabbergasted he is out of prison – and back at work.” EMILY WATT – The Dominion Post | Tuesday, 12 February 2008
I’m not trying to make light of the crime statistics, any crime is a crying shame, and crime committed by youth is doubly troubling as the poor buggers are getting off to a bad start.
Don’t panic though, this makes for much more hopeful reading.
Around 75 percent of young people in New Zealand never offend. Of those 25 percent who do, the vast majority (80 percent) offend only once or twice. The remaining 20 percent of young offenders tend to commit a high number of crimes across a greater number of years.
Contrary to some perceptions of a ‘crime wave’ amongst young people, lifecourse persistent young offenders comprise only four percent of all young people. Around three percent of New Zealand boys and less than one percent of New Zealand girls will be responsible for half of their generation’s juvenile offending (Scott 1999).
I always come back to one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands, The Kids are Alright by The Who. Every year The Who does some sort of charity work for kids causes, mainly child cancer research. They put on a concert at the Royal Albert Hall and invite guests. This particular evening they recorded the show (Zac Starkey on drums – Ringo’s boy – whom Keith Moon gave his first drum sticks). They played a new version of one of their oldest and lest played hits.
The middle section by Pete, is oh so bloody poignant in this “Kids aren’t alright” climate. Sure we need to address youth crime, but they aren’t the little bastards that the media and National claim to be, let’s help them not beat them up.
So all 3000+ of you who voted for the Govt to focus on youth crime, please think about what you are voting for, of course we’d all love to see Govts ‘stamp out’ youth crime (yes Simon Power thinks you can stamp out crime), but why are we focusing on youths – because it’s bloody election year and this is the ‘tear-jerker’ de jour.