Gangs and crime

August 6th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

has written in the NZ Herald:

The Minister of Police and Corrections, , has launched a ‘whole government plan on tackling gangs’.

Great, we need one and much of what is being proposed is good. She should be congratulated. What we don’t need is to over-inflate the problem. Unfortunately, in an election year (of course), this is what has occurred.

The Minister says there are 4000 known gang members in New Zealand. She says that so far this year they are responsible* for 34 per cent of class A & B drug offences; 36 percent of kidnapping and abduction offences; 25 per cent of aggravated robbery/robbery offences; 26 per cent of grievous assault offences; and consequently 28 per cent of the prison population is gang members. Sounds bad, right? If we believe what we are told, gang members make up just 0.1 per cent of the population yet they are responsible for between a quarter and more than a third of these serious crimes.

Unfortunately, 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 this data are correct. I’ll ask the Minister to do the same if I’m right.

Let’s look at what we can prove, because inconveniently she has used specific offences that don’t match with published data. Nevertheless, we are told that 28 per cent of the prison population are gang members. If we take the current prison population as 8500 that means 2380 of known gang members are currently behind bars. Whoa, that means 1620 free gang members are creating all of the carnage that the Minister has cited today.

Not only are the numbers wrong, they are widely inaccurate. Crazy inaccurate. If they’re not I’ll eat carrots.

Gilbert is wrong when he says the specific offences don’t match published data. As an academic, I am surprised he has not discovered the website run by Stats NZ.

He seems to disbelieve that somewhere between 1,620 and 4,000 gang members (some of those in jail will have been out during the year) could commit:

  • 25% of aggravated robberies and robberies
  • 36% of kidnapping and abductions
  • 26% of grievous assaults
  • 34% of class A and B drug offences

So what do the numbers tell us.

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.

So on the face of it, the statistics used by the Minister do not seem incredulous.

UPDATE: I have been sent the actual stats the Minister was relying on, which are for the first quarter of 2014. They are:

  • 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

I look forward to the Herald covering the Jarrod Gilbert eating his carrots.

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43 Responses to “Gangs and crime”

  1. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    Do you mean ‘incredible’?

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  2. Tarquin North (298 comments) says:

    The Herald seemed more than happy to talk about a gang members misfortune this morning. I don’t wish to speak ill of the dead but I have trouble working out they seem to think he deserves so much coverage.

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  3. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    Remember when Big Norm promised to take the bikes off the bikies? What a false promise that turned out to be.

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  4. Redbaiter (8,911 comments) says:

    Who cares what some whining academic thinks is important.

    Gangs are a curse on this country and the government has been too cowardly to do what needs to be done (afraid of being labeled xenophobic I guess, seeing as most gangs are Maori).

    Kudos to Anne Tolley for trying to do something and I hope she is not dissuaded by the wheedling criticism of some academic dropkick whose abilities in achieving anything practical are probably limited to buying a monthly bus ticket.

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  5. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Yes, Jarrod obviously doesn’t know which way is up. I posted a similar analysis and comment on the Herald column but true to form that sleazy rag didn’t publish it.

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  6. Redbaiter (8,911 comments) says:

    Two sociologists came upon a man lying distraught in the gutter after being beaten and robbed. As they looked down upon the battered and bleeding body one of them remarked- “we must find the people responsible for this terrible attack, they’re obviously in desperate need of our help”.

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  7. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    There is one extended family on the North Shore responsible for double digits percentages of crimes on the Shore. This information is not made generally available. My wife was robbed by two girls from this family trained (and I do not use the word loosely) to perform crime. They were underage so we went through the whole useless meetings between victims and crims. The 14 year old had already offences north of 50 or so. Once we got talking to other victims of this family, the police, social services etc we learnt of the sheer number of crimes performed by this family. Never seems to make the press though.

    So, yes, I can believe a relatively small number of evil ratbags can perform an enormous amount of crime.

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  8. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    I find it incredible that you should think statistics might be incredulous.

    adjective
    1.
    not credulous; disinclined or indisposed to believe; skeptical.
    2.
    indicating or showing unbelief: an incredulous smile.

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  9. Maggy Wassilieff (394 comments) says:

    @ BeaB
    “Do you mean ‘incredible’?”

    I’m sure he does.
    Its no longer incredible that many people fail to discern the difference between the two.
    Thank goodness for incredulous folk.

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  10. Macfre (22 comments) says:

    So when does Jarrod eat a suitcase full of carrots? Are tickets on sale yet?

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  11. Zebulon (114 comments) says:

    And we have front page stories mourning the loss of a patched member of the Head Hunters gang. These people are the scum of the earth. While I understand that people will grieve the loss of someone close to them we should not be glorifying their lifestyle

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  12. Maggy Wassilieff (394 comments) says:

    @ Adolf F…..
    R U taking the piss?
    or R U confirming my above posting?

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  13. fernglas (157 comments) says:

    What statistics don’t show is the extent to which gangs are involved in creating crime. Their high level control of the drugs trade, for example, is rarely prosecuted. When it is, it will show up as a single offence, against, say 100 for a street level dealer who is prosecuted based on numerous text transactions. However, that street level dealer will inevitably sourced the drugs through organised crime. So it is artificial to ascribe to gangs only those crimes for which gang members are convicted.

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  14. Jack5 (5,137 comments) says:

    What if the country were to liberalise self-defence laws so we could defend ourselves better?

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  15. dirty harry (489 comments) says:

    excuse my cynicism but there must be an election looming…

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  16. David Garrett (7,284 comments) says:

    For once I agree entirely with red…it doesn’t much matter how accurate the stats are…the salient point is gangs are criminal organizations and a scourge on the country…great to see the Nats formally acknowledging that…big improvement on inviting the vermin to parliament to discuss “the drivers of crime”

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  17. Zebulon (114 comments) says:

    Why doesn’t the government just do what Queensland did – get tough and mean it.

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  18. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Redbaiter (7,693 comments) says:
    August 6th, 2014 at 10:24 am

    I think you are getting very muddled about what sociologist do. Sociology is the study of society – sociologists if they came across such a person would merely want to observe – research the biological, historical and cultural aspects that contributed to the attack – sociologists are social scientists, and not specifically into offering direct assistance. I think you might be meaning social work – which is a different qualification, and whilst it often has some components of sociology as well as others, it also has a ‘hands on’ approach and attempts to make change via action – unlike sociologists who would write a paper about the event, once they had researched it and applied a theoretical approach.

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  19. Doctor Who (52 comments) says:

    Incredulous refers to a person’s state, or expression – smile or stare, say. The statistics are not unbelievable.

    Incidentally, when is a machete-slaying of the son of a prominent Head Hunters not gang-related? Poor Gnomes would have been so proud…

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  20. Zapper (1,021 comments) says:

    Redbaiter August 6th, 2014 at 10:19 am

    If there was a prize for comment of the day, then this one would surely win today.

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  21. Ashley Schaeffer (487 comments) says:

    But gangs are just about whanau aren’t they…?

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  22. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Where is that person who attacked me for calling one dead Headhunter scum.
    Oh and it wasn’t gang related but the police guarded the scene with automatic rifles.

    Scum they are and always will be.

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  23. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Ashley Schaeffer (417 comments) says:
    August 6th, 2014 at 12:31 pm
    But gangs are just about whanau aren’t they…?

    There does seem to be a generational affect to modern day gangs. In fact even historically fathers and sons frequently joined the same gang.

    It is interesting to also note that some gangs actually pull their members away from family/whanau if other family members are against gang involvement. Whilst some of the gangs try to make out they are all about Maori culture, often their rules are contrary to traditional cultural values.

    I think we need to do some work that targets the young before they become too involved. Identify the vulnerable – those most like to join, and work on them before they become indoctrinated in the illicit lifestyle.

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  24. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Viking2 (11,172 comments) says:
    August 6th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I have always been of the opinion, that despite visual appearance, gangs consist of the weakest form of humanity – those that cannot stand for themselves – and only feel brave when they have the ‘uniform’ and patched bros to help them.

    I say ‘bros’ but acknowledge we are starting to have problems with female gangs as well.

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  25. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    If we believe what we are told, gang members make up just 0.1 per cent of the population yet they are responsible for between a quarter and more than a third of these serious crimes.

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

    :lol: LOL – I remember him when he was the President of the Canterbury Uni student union – he had a big mouth then too.

    I am quite ready to believe the gang scum commit more than a third of all violent crime.

    I also believe we should declare that outlaw gang membership is inconsistent with New Zealand Citizenship, and therefore gang activities become an act of war by a foreign agent, and therefore responsibility for dealing with gangs could be transferred from the Police and the Courts to the armed forces.

    (and the armed forces should do the classic eastern-European ethnic clean-up. Round them up, take them out into the forest in trucks, shoot them, and bulldoze the bodies into a mass grave. No more black power, no more mongrel mob, no more highway 61, no more trouble.)

    People with liberal, legal or humanist objections to this operation should be shown crime scene photos and a refresher on the stats.

    I don’t see a slippery slope issue here, because the gang scum operate so far outside of normal decent society that there is no comparison with any honest New Zealanders.

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  26. burt (8,271 comments) says:

    has launched a ‘whole government plan on tackling gangs

    The gangs and their lobbying for status quo on marijuana laws must be very effective. I’m guessing they are big political party donor’s and they are not named for obvious reasons. I can’t think of any other reason why we had the prohibition policies in the first place or why we keep them.

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  27. Odakyu-sen (655 comments) says:

    I believe the current environment allows the gangs to flourish. The gangs won’t change. So let’s change the environment.

    To destroy gangs, you have to choke off their essential supplies: a) sources of income, b) human resources, c) adoration from the media, d) moral support from their affiliates and extended families.

    The gang members can’t be reformed, but maybe future gang prospects (b above) can be turned if they can be convinced that there is an alternative.

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  28. burt (8,271 comments) says:

    Odakyu-sen

    If gang members could grow tomatoes and sell them for $2,500/kg they would stop growing and selling weed. Let’s make tomatoes illegal and give the gangs a reason to stop selling weed.

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  29. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Or shoot them.

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  30. David Garrett (7,284 comments) says:

    No government in this country has taken the “big step” and make these criminal organizations illegal and hound them if not out of existence then make their livesnone constant hassle…just as the Germans have been doing to neo-nazi organizatios for years

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  31. kowtow (8,486 comments) says:

    judith

    This is what sociologists do.Talk shit.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2716106/Gardeners-Question-Time-caught-race-row.html

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  32. gump (1,649 comments) says:

    @Viking2

    Why are you telling lies? Have you already forgotten what you said? Had a bit too much sherry this morning?

    You attacked Millie Elder – and you were rightly called out for it.

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  33. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    @RRM 1:22 pm,

    No. Just No. Mass killing and mass graves are thoroughly unacceptable, horrific and … just NO!

    I understand that you’re angry and you find these gangs horribly offensive, threatening and anathema to society (as do I).

    But please, try really hard not to talk about things that are so reminiscent of the Bosnian conflict, the Rwandan wars etc (not to mention a certain Godwin-ing that I’m trying to stay away from).

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  34. ManuT (51 comments) says:

    @ Judith

    If you think gang members are weak you are mistaken. They live to fight and inflict damage. When they are not physically fighting with “citizens” they fight among themselves. Weak they are not; dim witted they are.
    There are of course a few “white wimps” who hang with gangs who have the misguided impression they will be protected when in trouble. Have I got news for them.

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

    Zebulon suggests:

    Why doesn’t the government just do what Queensland did – get tough and mean it.

    Oh god no. Get tough on gangs, by all means. But don’t follow Queensland down that rabbit hole.

    Campbell Newman tried to be clever and make it an offence to associate with a gang member. Not a gang, a gang member. So suddenly we had the spectre of women being hassled, and potentially being arrested, because – years before the law was passed – they’d married and/or had children with a gang member. And brothers, friends etc.

    He tried to define a gang and then make its existence (not it’s committing of already illegal acts) illegal. First of all there were concerns the definition was too loose, and would encompass the Scouts, for instance. Then they tried defining it by adding that the group had to have criminals amongst it. So anyone who’d had a mis-spent youth, straightened out, and was now a member of the local Lions club could have landed the club in trouble.

    And on and on it goes. South Australia decided to let the Attorney General “declare” a group to be a gang. But the gangs aren’t registered associations, so when you “declare” “The Scum of the Earth”, they could easily change their name to “The Scum of the Universe”.

    But perhaps the worst side effect of this nonsense is to cause no end of trouble for groups of mid-life crisis blokes who form some sort of club to go riding on weekends, or to worthy and worthwhile organisations such as the Saints Christian Motorcycle Club. I know several members of the latter; they’re great people and do a considerable service to the community, including providing an environment in which former gang members can turn their lives around while still enjoying all the good aspects of being in a group that rides motorcycles.

    Yet again this is a situation where we already have enough laws to punish people who commit these crimes. If society feels they should be punished more harshly, then there are mechanisms to make that happen. After all, be they gang members or not, the offenders commit these crimes as individuals. A gang isn’t some sort of Borg collective.

    The only people to benefit from “bikie laws” are grandstanding politicians and greedy lawyers.

    edit to add: And the bikies. With a common enemy (the government), previously warring gangs have put aside their differences and are working together, sharing legal costs etc. Some have even amalgamated. So if you’re a gang leader wanting to expand your power base, you’ll welcome these ham-fisted laws.

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  36. Odakyu-sen (655 comments) says:

    RRM

    I don’t want the State to “solve our problems”; rather I would like the State to stop interfering with the rights of citizens to self-defence, defence of their communities and the right to suppress anti-social activity on a community level.

    Once the State gets involved, things can get out of hand. You know the drill: first they came for the Head Hunters, but I didn’t speak out because I was not a Head Hunter… yadda, yadda, yadda.

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  37. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    “…..Why doesn’t the government just do what Queensland did – get tough and mean it….”

    Because most OMC members in QLD are white. Premier Cambell Newman would not have done what he did if they were mostly aboriginal. He’s lucky!

    In NZ gang members are mostly Maori.

    A NZ mayor not long ago called gang members ‘whanu/family’. You won’t ever get rid of gangs with the arms of government practising apartheid.

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  38. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    In Tauranga the Filthy Few have owned their club headquarters in Birch Ave for 30+ years.
    They are shit scared that the building will be confiscated from them.

    Probably worth $400k plus these days.

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  39. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ ManuT (39 comments) says:
    August 6th, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Individually they are weak – get them alone and they aren’t so brave – their strength only comes in their numbers and their contacts. Remove both of those from them, stick them somewhere that there isn’t any support and any way to call on back up, and most aren’t so clever.

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  40. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    I still say shoot them.

    All of them.

    Patch? BANG

    Tattoo with insignia on it? BANG

    :-)

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  41. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    RRM (9,508 comments) says:
    August 6th, 2014 at 5:26 pm
    I still say shoot them.

    So you reckon get a group of your mates, perhaps wear a patch or something so you can identify yourselves, and drive around shooting people that don’t think the same as you, and who you don’t like? ummmm????

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  42. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Organised groups of thieves rapists and murderers Judith.

    Those who inflict suffering on others as a lifestyle choice.

    Probably not you or your dad.

    Probably not green party voters or union reps.

    I’d pull the trigger.

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  43. MikeS (22 comments) says:

    @Judith

    “individually they are weak…”

    obviously you’ve never met an mc member because I wouldn’t fancy your chances.

    The level of ignorance on this page is astounding. RRM – you’re obviously very young. If not then you need help

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