Dr Gilbert now concedes gangs are responsible for the proportions cited

August 8th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Dr Gilbert originally blogged:

The Minister says there are 4,000 known gang members in New Zealand. She says that so far this year they are responsible* for 34 percent of class A & B drug offences; 36 percent of kidnapping and adduction offences; 25 percent of aggravated robbery/robbery offences; 26 percent of grievous assault offences; and consequently 28 percent of the prison population is gang members. Sounds bad, right? If we believe what we are told, gang members make up just 0.1 percent of the population yet they are responsible for between a quarter and more than a third of these serious crimes. Bloody hell.

Unfortunately, I suspect it’s bollocks. More than that I’ll bet on it.

I had a look at the crime stats and said that the figures seem very credible:

Aggravated Robberies and Robberies

There were 2,032 robberies (both types) last year. 25% would be 508. That seems a credible number for 1,620 to 4,000 gang members to do.

Kidnappings and Abductions

There were 198 kidnappings and abductions last year. 36% would be 71. That seems a credible number for 1,620 to 4,000 gang members to do.

Grievous Assaults

If you add up the 17 assault categories that mention GBH, there were 500 offences last year.  26% would be 130. That seems a credible number for 1,620 to 4,000 gang members to do.

Class A and B drug offences

There were 16,070 illicit drug offences in 2013. They are broken up into specific drugs and it would take a long time to do an exact count. But a previous Stats report is that less than 10% are Class A and B. So a fair assumption is 1,607 Class A and B drug offences last year. 34% would be 546. That seems a credible number for 1,620 to 4,000 gang members to do.

I also got sent the data provided by the Police, which was for Q1 2014:

  • Class A/B drug offences total 218 out of 649
  • Kidnapping and abduction 16 out of 44
  • Aggravated robbery/robbery 72 out of 284
  • Grievous assault 130 out of 506

Now sadly Dr Gilbert won’t accept he was wrong, but is now trying to argue that there is a difference between gang associates and gang members. So he is not at all disputing that are responsible for 25% to 36% of kidnappings, robberies, grievous assaults and serious drug offences. He is now just saying that the crime figures may include associates, not just gang menbers:

I spend a lot of time working in prisons and I spend a lot of time with gangs. The prisons are not so full of gang members and not a single gang I know has anywhere remotely close to half of its members inside. 

Is Dr Gilbert Saying the Corrections Department is lying when it says 28% of the prison population are gang members? They supplied the data, and I see no reason why they would make it up.

What the 28 percent prison number represents is gang members as well as gang associates in prison.

So it is a technical argument over definitions. I don’t care what you call them.

A few years back The Police Association said gangs and associates numbered 60,000. 

The Police Association are not an official source. The Police are. They say there are 4,000 gang members. I don’t know if they includes associates in that. I presume Police and Corrections are using the same definition.

So I’m glad Dr Gilbert is not disputing that gangs are responsible for 25% to 36% of those four serious crime categories. He is disputing whether they are all done by members, or associates. I doubt that matters to the victims of the grievous assaults, robberies and kidnappings.

 

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39 Responses to “Dr Gilbert now concedes gangs are responsible for the proportions cited”

  1. Linda Reid (417 comments) says:

    I do not quite understand why a gang member being killed in a random act of violence is celebrated in the media. Gangs are criminal organisations. Yet all we heard about Connor Morris was how wonderful he was. Can I take leave to doubt he would have been a gang member if he was so nice and honest and honourable?

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  2. burt (8,321 comments) says:

    Linda Reid

    What I couldn’t quite comprehend is how the incident was originally reported as a random act. That’s like saying a guy who juggles chainsaws had his hand cut off in a freak accident. Very odd how it was reported.

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  3. Grizz (611 comments) says:

    Gang Members or Associates. Who cares. If there is monetary gain, it ultimately is the gang that wins.

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  4. backster (2,185 comments) says:

    I would be surprised if gang numbers were as low as 4,000, I would expect that from Auckland alone. I was a gang liasion officer
    25 years ago and then you could double the crime percentage figures given attributable to gang members. Today I understand many gang members are incognito to facilitate drug distribution especially the motor cycle gangs Hells Angels, Red Devils, etc who operate internationally.

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  5. anonymouse (722 comments) says:

    A few years back The Police Association said gangs and associates numbered 60,000.

    I don’t know why Dr Gilbert brings up the 60,000 figures when in 2008 he dismissed it out of hand, and he even thought the official corrections/police numbers might be high!!!!

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10519079
    “Statistics of up to 60,000 were based on an older survey from the 1990s which estimated there were up to 6000 gang members. It was further estimated that for each gang member there were up to 10 associates, which meant the real figure could be in the tens of thousands.”

    When the Weekend Herald asked Christchurch University gang expert Jarrod Gilbert how many gang members he thought were in the country he quoted the police statistics of about 3500 as it was the only figure available.

    However, he said he felt that if anything the figure might be slightly inflated

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  6. stephieboy (3,406 comments) says:

    S”o I’m glad Dr Gilbert is not disputing that gangs are responsible for 25% to 36% of those four serious crime categories. He is disputing whether they are all done by members, or associates. I doubt that matters to the victims of the grievous assaults, robberies and kidnappings.”

    Thats the nub of it and especially the last sentence .

    Good one DPF.!

    Dr Gilbert has no credibility.None whatsoever by ludicrously splitting hairs.!

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  7. greenjacket (487 comments) says:

    Dr. Jarrod Gilbert wrote: “I suspect it’s bollocks. More than that I’ll bet on it. I will eat a suitcase full of carrots in front of the fine Sociology Department at the University of Canterbury if these data are correct. I’ll ask the Minister to do the same if I’m right.”
    .
    I hope the eating of a suitcase full of carrots by Jarrod Gilbert is placed on the internet so we can all see it and laugh. Classic.

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  8. virtualmark (1,540 comments) says:

    greenjacket,

    I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for Dr Gilbert to follow through on the suitcase of carrots bet. All talk. No action. No honour.

    So no surprises he’s an academic then …

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  9. Longknives (4,884 comments) says:

    “Chris Morris, Connor’s father, a high profile member of the Head Hunters motorcycle gang also took to Facebook to remember his son.-
    “He realised when he was in 5th form that school wasn’t for him, he was better suited to growing dreadlocks and smoking large amounts of “gunga”,” he said….”

    Christ I hope if I popped my clogs my old man could think of something more appropriate and complimentary to say about me….

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  10. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    I had a look at the crime stats and said that the figures seem very credible:

    Might pay to look at the numbers entering prison unaffiliated to a gang but leaving prison a member of a gang. Evidently gang membership is culturally mandatory in prison.

    So perhaps the point Gilbert is making is that dealing effectively with the gang problem is not simply a question of looking at numbers and drawing spurious (or politically motivated) conclusions.

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  11. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    It is a known fact that a person cannot say they are a member of a certain gang until they have passed the necessary ‘requirements’. To do so is punished severely – so techinically Gilbert is right, there are many that are not in gangs, as such, but acting for them, prospecting and so on – that under gang rules are not yet a member.

    Of course out here it doesn’t matter, if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas and smell just as bad. If you hang with a gang you are a gang member, and I suspect that is where Corrections are getting the data from. A few years back we were required to tick the gang box, even if there was just an affiliation – and not necessarily a member.

    Its all semantics, of course – if you are leading that sort of life style, then that is what you are – but it might explain a bit of the difference in the data.

    Personally I’m surprised those statistics quoted are so low on the gang side – I would have thought some of them would be a tad higher myself. Especially the kidnapp and assault – which is very much an asian gang signature crime. Also gbh – would have expected more gang association with that too.

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  12. burt (8,321 comments) says:

    Longknives

    Perhaps your father would say you carried on in the family business and did well in it – same shit different bucket. It’s all about your core values and life ambitions.

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  13. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ burt (7,876 comments) says:
    August 8th, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Exactly burt and when its all you’ve known, and even your uncles are in the same family business, how are you going to know or learn any thing different.

    Its the same story with generational welfare recipients – its all they know – somehow, and I don’t know how- we have to break up the effects we are seeing in welfare and gangs, of generations of bad parenting.

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  14. AG (1,832 comments) says:

    They say there are 4,000 gang members. I don’t know if they includes associates in that. I presume Police and Corrections are using the same definition.

    Why would you presume this? It’s really the crux of Gilbert’s argument – that gang “members” are not the same as “associates”, and if you are including actions by the latter group in the analysis then it’s not very revealing because it is so fluid/arbitrary as to be useless. So to say that you’re just going to assume that the Govt agencies providing the stats are all speaking from the same page really begs the point of debate.

    Anyway, why not settle the point? You’ve got contacts with Tolley (her people sent you the stats on the last post). So just ask her office and then publish the results.

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  15. Unity (611 comments) says:

    They should outlaw gangs and especially their insignia. They look very threatening and menacing – probably by design. As for Connor Morris not ‘feeling school was for him’, his parents were probably a big part of the problem in this regard. What roll models they must have been also!!?? It is well known that gangs are into crime in a big way and I would refute the numbers because they have many hangers-on who might as well belong to the gangs as they do a lot of the donkey work.

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  16. Bill Ted (93 comments) says:

    To be fair to Jarrod, I’d be splitting all the hairs I could if I’d set myself up for public humiliation and a suitcase of carrots like he has. That’s a whole lot of fibre. Hope he lives alone.

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  17. Albert_Ross (311 comments) says:

    Scott Chris, if that is the point Gilbert is making then he should say so. And he’s the one who chose to focus discussion on whether or not the numbers were right, rather than on the substance of what the Government is actually proposing to do.

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  18. fisho (19 comments) says:

    Explaining is losing Dr Gilbert.
    Now sit down, shut up, and eat your carrots.

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  19. flipper (4,219 comments) says:

    I will just add one comment, which will offend many.

    But that is because they live in a parallel universe, not recognising that there is one very big chunk of humanity in NZ, for bad rather than good, that asserts that the worst gang of all is The gang in Blue, aka The Molesworth Street Cowboys..

    I do not subscribe to that view as a generalisation.. But the reality is that the gangs on the wrong side of tracks keep up their membership by asserting, and demonstrating, not without fact, that the Gang in Blue breaks the law.

    I could go on…. but the need is for substantial change in the Gang in Blue… along (simultaneously) with a crack down on the real bastards in society.

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  20. holysheet (427 comments) says:

    Why be surprised when you see these comments attributed to “Christchurch University gang expert Jarrod Gilbert”.
    He has obviously been undercover too long in his research and the weed has addled his tiny brain.

    My definition of an expert is “someone who knows how to make love a thousand ways and no body to do it with”

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  21. Scott Chris (6,177 comments) says:

    And he’s the one who chose to focus discussion on whether or not the numbers were right, rather than on the substance of what the Government is actually proposing to do.

    Fair point and to be honest I don’t really know what his position is, but I do know that it is easy to become side-tracked by trivial argument.

    Personally I believe that the ‘gang problem’ would be significantly mitigated if illegal drugs were to be decriminalised, but I’ve come to the realisation that this measure is simply impossible to implement given the context of our current political environment. So maybe band-aids and cliff-bottom ambulances are the best we can expect in the near future.

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  22. kowtow (8,776 comments) says:

    “Dr” Gilbert, if you’re reading this please note ,I reckon you’re full of crap.

    ps Gang member or associate matters not,all members of a criminal conspiracy.If they all died tonight the country would be a far better place.

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  23. Brian Smaller (4,026 comments) says:

    Dr Gilbert is splitting hairs. Gang member or associate – both are nothing more than criminals who infest our society and make life more difficult for everyone. I am sure he wouldn’t see much difference if either one were stealing his car, robbing his house or beating the crap out of him

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  24. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    There’s also a third category: wannabes.

    I’m not sure if it’s the case in NZ now, but certainly when I had something to do with gangs there some 30 years ago, and currently in Australia, there were / are a large number of dropkicks who strut about asserting “you better not mess with me, or I’ll get my boys from [insert gang name here] to deal with you”.

    The latest was some mullet-adorned midget who squinted up from nipple-level and told me my days were numbered for reporting his “missus” to prison authorities for a vicious assault. I promptly contacted said gang and was told his association was of the “I’ve got a mate who’s got a mate, who knows a bikie” type, and that he was as big a nuisance to them as to the rest of the world.

    So I really do wonder about definitions and numbers here. Though one thing is evident – even taking wannabes into account, the Police Association are bare faced liars.

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  25. dime (10,125 comments) says:

    Long knives – bahahahahahaha

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  26. Brian Marshall (204 comments) says:

    He questioned the minister about her stats and turned out he was wrong. Not a very good sociologist is he? Maybe his funding could be cut, and the funds used to pay someone without an agenda to drive…

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  27. Longknives (4,884 comments) says:

    Dime- Doesn’t matter. The gushing NZ media has elevated this gang member druggie killed in a street brawl to some kind of Martyr/Saint.
    Just wait until ‘Our Millie’ gets her own TV gig- This ‘Martyr’ is all we are going to hear about….

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  28. Steve R (2 comments) says:

    The one thing that Dr Gilbert has got wrong is that you deserve a reputation for honesty. You are being quite dishonest to suggest that Dr Gilbert has conceded the point, he absolutely has not. And it is utter nonsense to suggest he is wrong by simply standing by the initial apparently flawed data. Furthermore, your refusal to accept there is a significant difference between gang members and associates betrays nothing but sheer ignorance. Having worked with gangs as a police officer (including time undercover in their midst) I can assure you that there are numerous people who are recorded as “gang associates” that have no association with “the gang” although they might have a completely non-gang related association with an individual “gang member”. For instance, consider the co-worker who has his name taken when he gets pulled over in the company of a gang member; the person whose cousin or brother in law is a gang member (such people include policemen, lawyers and even a Judge); the tradesman who does work for a gang member etc etc. All can be recorded as “gang associates” and in the event that they commit an offence it is recorded as having been committed by a “gang associate” notwithstanding the fact there is no “gang” connection to the offence. Thus, the definitions used do matter because if the “gang problem” is wildly overstated because of a flawed nexus between offences and “gangs” then policy decisions and resource allocations are potentially misguided.

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  29. adze (2,129 comments) says:

    How does one verify gang membership? Do they have a professional membership database or something?

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  30. Longknives (4,884 comments) says:

    With all this gushing from the Herald about what a great guy/role model he was surely he will get their (Posthumous) ‘New Zealander of the Year’ award?

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  31. Griff (8,200 comments) says:

    The cops take photos adze
    Patched up full members wear the patch when they are doing memorial runs club meetings etc get photoed and added to the police gang database.
    Gangs prospect people who have large criminal networks deliberately using these criminal networks to keep the offending at a distance. Hence the associates of a gang are often those more directly linked to burglaries car theft drugs rings etc with the gang taking a cut though their members organization of associates crimes rather than direct offending.
    Drugs for instance they will have sellers and also cooks and raw material suppliers within associates. Often the actual gang members only involvement is acting as middle men taking a cut at each step for facilitating the networking and logistics for it to all work.

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  32. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Brian Marshall (190 comments) says:
    August 8th, 2014 at 5:29 pm
    Not a very good sociologist is he?

    Clearly you don’t have much of an idea of what sociology is. Although I don’t totally agree with Gilbert, he has researched a social phenomena, and just because the results aren’t what you want to see, doesn’t mean he hasn’t done exactly what sociologists do. His research passed the peer review process, so it can’t be too bad.

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  33. David Garrett (7,557 comments) says:

    DPF: Why does this surprise you? Gilbert is a left wing academic…just like your mate Geddis…the latter of course made a right arse of himself a week or so ago over Maori quotas in law schools…He essentially claimed there weren’t any such things, either at his little school in Dunedin or in Auckland…Readers quickly proved him wrong with excerpts from the various schools’ policies, whereupon Geddis did exactly what Gilbert has done, and started to argue about whether quotas were in fact quotas if they didn’t actually say they were…this is what the left do…They find it near on impossible to say “I got it wrong”…something any gentleman worth his salt has no problem doing…

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  34. publicwatchdog (2,823 comments) says:

    Where are the stats on the ‘pin stripe mafia’ who commit ‘white collar’ crime?

    Penny Bright

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  35. David Garrett (7,557 comments) says:

    Ah Penny! tell us, how many votes do you think you will get in the Helensville electorate?? (To the nearest hundred will do..)

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  36. David Garrett (7,557 comments) says:

    Lots of “Dotcom boys” around tonight…

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  37. gander (91 comments) says:

    Anonymouse, ta for the link in your 3:23 message. I thought you must have misquoted the Herald, but you were spot on.

    So where exactly is this “Christchurch University” where the Herald says this Gilbert bloke is based?

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  38. Dazzaman (1,146 comments) says:

    Linda Reid
    I do not quite understand why a gang member being killed in a random act of violence is celebrated in the media.

    Cannot fathom it either……am annoyed like crazy about it actually but Holmes being a media icon, Paul that is, will no doubt attract sympathy towards his kith & kin from a sycophantic media.

    The guy looked like a total creep & knowing a handful of Headhunters through broader family connections…..does that make me an associate?……it’s a given that he is a total creep.

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  39. MikeS (22 comments) says:

    Everyone posting on here saying members and associates are the same thing including Farrar are idiots. You can be flagged as an associate simply for being seen with a member. You might not even know they are a member. A previous poster was correct, prohibition is the biggest creator of organized crime bar nothing.

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