The only thing that saves the stupid headline below from joining my Spam Journalism collection is the fact that the article it heads is not trivial:
“Police say the Government’s policies to reduce violent crime have had little effect, as such offending is still on the rise and last year’s murder rate was the highest in 10 years.
““Legislation changes during 2009 have generally had negligible impact on total recorded crime statistics,” say police papers obtained by One News.”
“had negligible impact on total recorded crime statistics” is not the same thing as “Not working” at all. Not working implies that someone actually thought that such legislation would have an immediate effect on crime. Such thinking would make John Key look like a pessimist.
It should be obvious to all that any tougher sentencing will make little initial impact. This is because tougher sentencing is not a particularly great deterrent (although it does have a deterrent effect, albeit small), but it removes the worst criminals from society for a longer period of time, meaning that tougher sentencing will reduce crime, but only gradually, as criminals are caught.
It is absurd to expect the government to do anything useful about homicides, particularly child homicides”
Putting more police onto the Force will have the immediate effect of increasing certain types of recorded crime, particularly crimes that respond well to campaigns such as drink drinking and drug offenses. It is therefore hardly surprising that these have gone up.
Comments on the statistics tend to focus on the homicide rate which has increased. Firstly the homicide rate is a small part of the crime statistics and the raw number will tend to fluctuate from year to year. Cosgrove may call the figures a “damning indictment” on the Government, but it is hard to take his words as anything but politicking, as the previous Labour government presided over similar increases for nearly a decade. A decade’s worth of increases do represent a damning indictment on Labour, but it is far too early to start condemning National.
The second thing about the homicide rate, is that it is the rate that responds the least to legislation. After all, someone who is willing to take another’s life is unlikely to be thinking rationally about the consequences and will almost certainly be thinking that s/he will “get away with it”. The deterrent effect of sentencing and increasing police numbers is virtually non-existent for murder.
It is absurd to expect the government to do anything useful about homicides, particularly child homicides. There is no way that any government intervention can restore our sense of the worth of another person’s life. For that, we have to take responsibility as a society. By this, I most certainly do not mean that society is responsible for a child’s murder – that is solely the responsibility of the child’s killer. But we are responsible for the value we attach to human life. Our casual attitude to the killing of foetuses and elderly people has eroded our sense of the worth of human life, as has the endless bombardment of murders – real and imagined – that come forth from the small screen in our living rooms. In addition, the destruction of hope caused by rampant welfarism has assured us a pool of the disaffected, for whom life is no longer valuable.
Note; I am not saying that every woman who has had an abortion, and every person on welfare, is a murderer, any more than I am saying that every person who watches TV is a homicidal maniac. But these things gradually chip away at our perception of the importance of human life – and the affect is cumulative.
New Zealand has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Isn’t it time we looked at the real reasons why and stopped blaming the government?