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New Book Says Public Have Been Kept In The Dark About True Crime Levels

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
New Book Says Public Have Been Kept In The Dark About True Crime Levels

A new book by a British crime expert says New Zealanders have been kept in the dark about the true nature of our crime problem, because politicians and academics have caused most of the soaring crime rate and would prefer the public didn't find out.

David Fraser's book Badlands goes on sale later this week, and shatters dozens of key myths about crime that have been used to placate the public.

One of those myths is that New Zealand has the second highest imprisonment rate in the world. Fraser discovered the claim was not true, but has been used by successive governments to justify not spending money on more prisons.

In fact, says Fraser, New Zealand's rate of imprisonment per 100,000 offences recorded is well down the world rankings, and goes a long way to explaining why New Zealand has a high crime rate - we're continuing to let people stay in their communities and re-offend on a regular basis.

Another misleading claim used to justify not sending people to jail is the supposed cost of $100,000 a year to keep a prisoner in jail. Fraser says the claim is accurate, but utterly out of context. Based on national and international crime statistics, the average offender is committing around 80 crimes a year if they are not in prison, at a cost of around $355,000 a year to the community.

In other words, it costs the public nearly four times as much when the courts decide not to send a criminal to prison.

Although the country's murder rate has tripled, per capita, since the 1960s, Fraser reveals that the numbers don't tell the real story - medical advancements are keeping hundreds alive each year today who would have died in 1960 or 1970, masking the real comparative homicide rate behind an explosion in violent assault statistics instead.

Fraser's new book argues that successive law changes since the 1960s have essentially caused New Zealand's massive crime problem, and he publishes suggested policy changes he argues will rapidly reduce New Zealand's crime rate.

Fraser has spent decades working in the Probation Service and is a former analyst with the UK National Crime Intelligence Service.

Badlands: NZ - A Land Fit For Criminals by David Fraser, $41.90, Howling At The Moon Publishing Ltd, onsale Tuesday April 26

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