Alf is on the back foot, when trying to explain why the number of murders is at a 14-year high.
Crime statistics issued yesterday for the financial year ended June 30 show there were 65 murders, up from 54 a year earlier.
More perturbing, from Alf’s political perspective, is that this is the highest annual toll since 1996, when we had – dare it be pointed out – another National-led Government.
In that year 68 people were murdered.
In anticipation of being given a hard time about this murder rate when he next drops into the Eketahuna Club, Alf turned to Crusher Collins for some sort of explanation.
She doesn’t have one. At least, not a good one.
As Stuff tells us today –
The number of murders is at a 14-year high, with Police Minister Judith Collins blaming “an abnormal spike” of 12 unrelated murders in one month.
The murder rate was “flat” when viewed over 25 years, she said.
So how would she have explained things if the spike of 12 in one month had been spread a tad more evenly through the year.
The average would still be 5.4 a month. up from 4.5 the previous year.
The percentage increase, if Alf has used the right formula, is around 20%.
That would be great stuff if that was the rise in GDP per capita, helping us enormously in our efforts to catch up with Australia.
But a 20% increase in the murder rate strikes Alf as being problematic.
Perhaps we can take comfort from Police general manager of development Kevin Kelly, who said murder rates needed to be considered over a longer term.
“If you look at the 25-year picture, murder has stabilised in New Zealand to between 40 and 70 a year.”
But Alf is braced for the Labour blowhards coming up with a media statement that points out a greater likelihood of hitting 70 murders a year under a National government than a Labour one.
He is also bothered that while Police are chuffed about solving 61 of the 65 murder cases by the end of the 12 months, this still leaves four murderers running free out out there somehwere.
Maybe Alf can focus his Eketahuna Club maes on overall crime, which fell to 441,960 offences nationally, down 580 on a year before.
Mind you, our neighbouring communities further north do not have a pretty story to tell.
The Eastern policing district, covering Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, had the most crime per head of population in New Zealand.
Reported assaults were on a par with last year, at 3352, but were the highest per head of population in the country. Murders jumped from one to six, harassment charges climbed 24 per cent to 848, and drug-dealing charges leapt by 50 per cent to 177.
Ms Collins said the drop in reported crime was “encouraging”, but there was more to be done.
Yep. Like catching four murderers, for starters.
Let’s start by looking for an abnormal Spike.