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Victim Surveys Show NZ Crime Higher Than US

Justice Minister Phil Goff has been reduced to the tactic of personal abuse because he knows I'm right about crime levels, ACT leader Richard Prebble said today.

"The Left can't resist attacking the man, not the ball.

"There is no doubt that you are now more likely to be the victim of a robbery, a rape, a mugging or other violent crime in New Zealand than in the United States. Comparing police statistics is totally misleading because different police authorities collect statistics differently.

"Earlier this month, the Parliamentary Library gave me police statistics which indicated that NZ's crime levels were above New York's. The Police Minister refused me access to Police Department records, so I could check the facts, and I publicly accept that when you take into account the different ways of recording offences such as assault, it does appear that even though New York's crime rate has fallen spectacularly, New York is still a high crime city - it has a higher level of crime than New Zealand as a whole.

"But it also appears that there are parts of New Zealand that are almost as dangerous as New York.

"When comparing the whole of the United States with the whole of New Zealand, the way criminologists accept is accurate is to look at crime victim surveys. This is where people are surveyed and asked to record any crime they have suffered in the past 12 months.

"As people don't forget when they've been a victim of crime, these surveys are accurate.

"Police statistics are not an accurate gauge of crime because the level of crime reporting varies enormously. In some communities, for certain types of crime, victim surveys show that half of all crime is not reported.

"So the Justice Minister is relying on unreliable figures to make his claims. Calling people liars doesn't improve his argument.

"The most respected international crime survey is organised by the Netherlands government. Seventeen nations participate.

"Successive Justice Ministers have declined to have New Zealand participate - I suspect because the survey would show that New Zealand's crime levels are not just above the US but the highest in the English-speaking world, excluding South Africa.

"The most recent survey found Australia has the highest level of crime among the 17 nations participating. New Zealand crime victim surveys indicate we are comparable with Australia and, I believe, actually higher.

"A positive indicator of this is that the number of people in jail in New Zealand for violent crime is higher than Australia, per head of population.

"I am attaching extracts from the International Crime Victims Survey, to prove my statements that New Zealand's violent crime under Labour is higher than the United States.

"The full report is one the ACT website at http://www.act.org.nz/icvs (http://www.act.org.nz/icvs)

"Mr Goff owes me and the people of New Zealand an apology," Mr Prebble concluded.

ENDS

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