What are your odds?

The recent release of the latest New Zealand Police Statistics make for some interesting reading. Our Youth Justice stream has been using information from these data sets to expose some interesting trends (see last week’s post on youth drug offence prosecution).


This graphic shows the proportion of youth and child apprehensions leading to prosecution in 2011, broken down by offence type. We don’t know the seriousness or details of each crime recorded, but a picture emerges with some surprises. We might want to ask “please explain.”

Some findings:

  • The offence second-most-likely to result in prosecution is “offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations” – a category more likely to lead to prosecution than acts intended to cause injury;
  • There are very few homicide or related offences for young offenders – only three cases in 2011;
  • Theft is the most common youth offence;
  • Of the 3495 theft apprehensions recorded as Caucasian, there were 588 prosecutions. For Māori, of the 5660 apprehensions recorded, 1173 resulted in prosecution (16.8% vs. 20.7%.);
  • For every offence category other than “miscellaneous offences”, Māori have higher proportion of apprehensions leading to prosecution.


Of course it is important to approach these statistics with caution. As Thomas Lumley highlights, the numbers can be used and abused. These data are only a partial story, but provide an interesting starting point to start asking questions. When the Government releases its Youth Crime Action Plan later this year, JustSpeak will be looking closely for how it plans to address these sometimes surprising outcomes for young people.


Prosecution vs. total apprehension numbers for 10- to 16-year-olds, 2011:

Offence Caucasian Māori
Homicide and related offences 0 out of 1 2 out of 2
Acts intended to cause injury 290 out of 1415 497 out of 1876
Sexual assault and related offences 54 out of 159 41 out of 89
Dangerous or negligent acts endangering persons 1 out of 11 6 out of 13
Abduction, harassment and other related offences against a person 66 out of 425 101 out of 429
Robbery, extortion and related offences 42 out of 73 195 out of 302
Unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter 317 out of 954 1295 out of 2944
Theft and related offences 588 out of 3495 1173 out of 5660
Fraud, deception and related offences 49 out of 229 32 out of 111
Illicit drug offences 117 out of 768 107 out of 643
Prohibited and regulated weapons and explosives offences 57 out of 297 119 out of 424
Property damage and environmental pollution 382 out of 1913 581 out of 2690
Public order offences 183 out of 1728 370 out of 2412
Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations 82 out of 186 204 out of 382
Miscellaneous offences 4 out of 32 2 out of 26


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  1. […] linking because they have a good visualisation of the recently-released police crime statistics, comparing the proportion of apprehensions leading […]

  2. […] Just Speak have produced the infographic above. […]

  3. […] of young people also has considerable variation by ethnicity for some offences, as highlighted by JustSpeak earlier this […]

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