Stopping crime will take time … and effort
Do you sometimes wonder what country you’re living in right now?
Do you sometimes wonder what country you’re living in right now? Police being assaulted in the street. Daylight robbery at malls. Increase in homicides and gun violence. Some of our news headlines look like they could be ripped straight from the United States. And our crime rate statistics tell a similar story. Nationally, crime rates have risen by an average of 15%. In the first six months of the year, there were 254 ramraids—a 518 per cent increase in 5 years. And gun violence in Auckland (where most of these headlines are from)? In May, it doubled.
We clearly have reason to be concerned, but what can we do about that concern?
We clearly have reason to be concerned, but what can we do about that concern? The latest announcements by the Police Minister are a step in the right direction. They give Police more power, but they also focus on systemic causes of crime too. Some people would simply lock almost every offender up, the “get tough on crime” response. Yet punishment for a crime is only part of the equation. It’s a necessary part for sure; we need to see justice done, and an essential aspect of justice is proportionality. Yet there’s more to consider. A complex problem isn’t easily solved by one simple solution. As Maxim has pointed out in the past, justice includes considering reformation and recidivism, among other things.
An increased Police presence reduces offending like breaking and entering (think ramraids and daylight smash-and-grabs), and proactive policing can also help. But violent offending is more systemic. We need to ask intelligent questions like, “What process leads to these poor crime outcomes? How can we interrupt that process and create good results?”
Such questions aren’t “either/or.” It’s not about either recruiting new Police or investing in local communities. Let’s do both.
Start by being the sort of citizen that you want to see.
There’s another element. Recent studies show that we’re more isolated today than before the pandemic. We are also losing our local businesses, which are crucial for building community; for the first time since 2012, there were more closures than start-ups, and 70% of businesses expect to close due to COVID-19.
We exist in communities. The way that individuals act affects the whole. Those communities, whether local suburbs, schools, community groups, or family groups, must ask a fundamental question: “What sort of citizens do we want?
Crime is not just about punishment; it’s also about nourishment.
Start by being the sort of citizen that you want to see. Get to know your neighbours. Not only does it decrease loneliness, hopelessness, and worry, but it also increases feelings of usefulness, creates communal culture, and keeps the area safe.
In 1910 The Times ran a series of articles by various intellectuals answering the question, “What is wrong with the world?” G. K. Chesterton responded with two words: “I am.” Crime is not just about punishment; it’s also about nourishment. Let’s pursue both; together.go back