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Crunching numbers on violent crime

Violent crime sentences have decreased in the past two years, but nine Wairarapa people were convicted of violent crimes in July.
Data published on Hansard last week showed that of the Wairarapa people charged with a violent crime in July, nine were convicted, one had “other proved”, and four were not guilty.
In the 2021-2022 financial year, 314 people in the Manawatu and Wairarapa justice area were sentenced for violent crimes that were described as their most serious offences.
Those sentenced could have faced other charges.
Ministry of Justice [MoJ] said violent crimes included murder, attempted murder, manslaughter [excluding driving causing death], acts intended to cause injury, sexual assault, abduction and kidnapping, deprivation of liberty, and robbery.
However, overall sentences have decreased in the Manawatu and Wairarapa justice area.
The number of people sentenced to a violent crime has decreased since the 2019-2020 financial year, which saw 389 people sentenced for violent crimes.
The number jumped slightly to 444 sentencings in the 2020-2021 financial year.
Meanwhile, the prison population reached its lowest point since 2008 in November last year.
Without further system changes, the total prison population is expected to rise to 8000 by June 2031.
In November 2021, 7850 people were incarcerated.
MoJ data showed in the 2021-2022 financial year, two people in the Manawatu and Wairarapa justice area were convicted of murder.
MoJ said the window for crime intervention was narrow – after the age of 22, most of the opportunity to prevent a birth cohort’s offending was lost.
“Most offenders are known to the justice sector for only a few years before desisting.”
It said in a report for the 2021 to 2022 financial year, there were 27,755 charges for violent offences across the nation.
About two-thirds of people charged with violent offences were convicted for their most serious crime.
It said about 23 per cent of people charged were proven not guilty, their charge was withdrawn, or their charge was dismissed.
Of all people charged with a violent crime in the 2021-2022 financial year, 27 per cent were sentenced to prison, and 62 per cent received home detention, community detention, intensive supervision, or community work.
MoJ said 87 per cent of people convicted of violent crimes were male, while 13 per cent were female.
It said one-quarter of all people born in 1978 had a criminal conviction.
The statistic was exasperated for men, with one-third having a criminal conviction.
Of all Maori and Pacific men born in 1978, half had a criminal conviction.
MoJ said 80 per cent of all people born in 1978 had their first conviction before they turned 20.

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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