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McVicar’s Murder Statistics Geared to Instill Public Fear

Media Release : Garth McVicar’s Murder Statistics Geared to Instill Public Fear

Date : 14th July 2014

Garth McVicar’s claim that murders in New Zealand had risen from 2 to 3 a year up to 160 a year is seriously wrong, says Kim Workman, spokesperson for Rethinking Crime and Punishment.

“Twice during his interview on National Radio yesterday with Wallace Chapman, he claimed there were currently 160 murders a year. In fact there were 34 murders in the 2011 fiscal year, 43 in 2012, and 47 last year. The figures fluctuate widely from year to year because the murder rate is low, and all you need is an episode like the 1990 Aramoana massacre, where 13 people were killed, to throw it out of kilter. As a rule of thumb, we have about 50 murders a year, and a total of about 100 homicides a year, (which include offences like manslaughter, dangerous driving causing death, and so on.)

“Garth continues to claim that the crime rate has risen steadily since the 1950’s. What he conveniently fails to acknowledge, is that while the crime rate rose steadily until 1990, it has dropped steadily over the last 25 years. The most accurate measure is not the numbers but the rate, i.e. murders per 100,000 population. The graph athttp://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/Picture1.png shows a steady rise in the murder rate from 1953, the year of Garth’s birth - not that I’m holding him responsible. But what it also shows is a steady decline in the murder rate from 1985 to the present day, and in the crime rate from around 1990.”

“It is clear why Garth and the Sensible Sentencing Trust continue to mislead the public. The more fear they can instil into the hearts of New Zealanders, the greater public support they receive. He presents a picture of an idyllic New Zealand paradise in the 50’s which has steadily deteriorated. While values and attitudes have changed since then, the crime statistics don’t support that view. That is why he continues to distort the figures.”

Radio NZ Interview: http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/20141457
Murder Rate Bar Graph: http://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/Picture1.png
Excel Sheet: http://www.rethinking.org.nz/assets/Murder_Rates_NZ.xlsx

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