Public Perceptions of Crime 2016

The Ministry of Justice (the Ministry) commissioned Colmar Brunton to undertake a survey to investigate public perceptions about crime and the criminal justice system.

79% of respondents had interacted with the criminal justice system in the past two years.

  • National newspapers (online and hardcopy) and national television news broadcasts are the most common source of information about crime.
  • Use of Social Media as people’s single main source of information about crime has grown significantly from 29% in 2014 to 45% in 2016.
  • The most popular sources of information are viewed as the most reliable.
  • There is a low level of perceived knowledge about the criminal justice system.
  • Most people do not think there is a crime problem in their neighbourhood and most do not believe that local crime is increasing.
  • The majority (71%) think that national crime is increasing – and there has been a significant increase in the proportion saying that burglary is increasing across the country.
  • Under a third of respondents are confident in the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.
  • Most respondents have an inaccurate view of why most people are in prison
  • Compared with other agencies in the criminal justice system, NZ Police are viewed the most positively
  • Criminal courts in New Zealand tend to be viewed negatively.
  • There is no one course of action which would increase peoples’ confidence in the criminal justice system. Suggested measures include a mixture of preventative, process-orientated, rehabilitative and, to a lesser degree, more punitive responses.
  • Victims are more likely to view the criminal justice system negatively (compared with non-victims).

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