Crime (New Zealand)
Where can I find information about crime in New Zealand?
Entry last updated: 30/09/20
Crimes are committed in New Zealand every day, however the crime rates in New Zealand are lower than many other countries. In this entry we will show you how to find information on different types of crime, crime statistics, crimes committed in the past, andhow the Justice System works.
Types of crime
Many different types of crime are committed in New Zealand. The list below highlights some common crimes.
Burglary: When someone enters a building to commit theft.
Cyber crime: Criminal activity that involves the internet, a computer, smartphone, or other electronic device.
Family violence: Violence between people who are related.
Fraud: Someone tricks someone else for financial or unlawful gain.
Homicide: Murder or manslaughter.
Robbery: Where someone attempts theft by using force or violence.
Youth crime: Crimes committed by children or young people.
Causes and impacts of crime
The causes of crime are varied and complex and the impact on both criminals and victims often has lasting effects. You can explore the causes and impacts on the websites below.
Te Ara is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.
- Go to Social Connections .
- Now select Crime.
- Look through the different stories such as Violent crime , Dishonesty crime , Gangs , Crime and the media, and much more.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.
This websiteis for people who have been affected by crime and offers support and information to help victims deal with the effects of the crime.
- Choose the tab The crime to read about the Impact of crime .
- Find more information by selecting the tabs along the top or look down the homepage for the Latest News.
Stats NZ is a government department that collects statistical data through censuses and surveys on New Zealand's population, labour market, economy, business, society and environment. It offers tools to narrow searches.
- Search for 'crime' on the website.
- Choose Crime and justice to find statistics for prison sentences and the numbers of people in prison as well as child and youth prosecutions .
Tips: if you need help with the StatsNZ website they have a live chat service or you can fill in a Request for Information form.
The New Zealand Police are responsible for enforcing laws and keeping the public safe. Their website has information on reducing crime, how to keep safe, as well as some statistics.
- Choose the tab Advice & Services to find out about different crimes and what to do if you are a victim of crime.
- Or go to the About us tab.
- Then Publications and Statistics.
- From the menu on the left choose Data and statistics, then the link to crime statistics reports .
- Here you will find a useful document Crime at a glance which has a recent summary of crimes.
The Ministry of Justice is the government agency that is responsible for managing the court system and legal aid. It has information about the New Zealand Crime & Victims Survey (NZCVS ), which has been carried out every year since 2018 to find out about New Zealanders' experience of crime. To find out about this survey:
- Enter 'NZCVS' in the search bar.
- Select NZCVS resources and results.
- Here you will find reports related to the different surveys that relate to key findings and information about different topics.
A great place to find information about crimes are news websites. Crimes are reported widely in the news as there is much public interest. The websites below have a focus on New Zealand news.
Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre is one of the EPIC databases. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.
- Search for 'crime New Zealand' to find articles from New Zealand, Australian and international newspapers, magazines and reference sources.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.
TVNZ is a New Zealand news service that airs on television channel 1 and it covers news as it happens.
- Search for 'crime New Zealand' to find local news stories.
Stuff is the Newspaper website for the Fairfax group of newspapers in New Zealand, it features national news and has a section on crime.
- Choose National then Crime from the bar along the top to find a list of crime stories.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.
New Zealand Justice system
The New Zealand Justice system is there to make sure those who have committed crimes receive justice and are treated fairly.
The Ministry of Justice is the government agency that is responsible for managing the court system and legal aid. The agency also collects and enforces fines.
- Choose Courts to find out what happens in the Criminal and other courts.
- Choose the tab About to find the section Learn about the Justice System which has some real life stories and explains how the justice system works.
This website has searchable information on government services and departments.
- From the homepage go to Law, crime and justice .
- Here you will find topics such as Abuse , harassment and domestic violence , The courts, Prison life, Identity theft and more.
Tips: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can tell these sites by their web address – they might have .govt or .ac in their address.
The websites below focus on history and have information on historic crimes in a variety of formats.
NZHistory is a great website for information about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we go all the way down the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.
- Choose Culture and society from the front page, then Crime And Punishment .
- There is a Crime timeline that lists crimes since 1840 and an interactive New Zealand crime map .
This website has New Zealand television, film and music videos and is useful for New Zealand primary source or multimedia information.
- Search for 'crime.'
- Under Collections find Controversial Crime Stories - a selection of crime programmes and films.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the Our story link on this website. This can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.
Papers Past has a searchable collection of early NZ newspapers (19th and 20th centuries), letters, diaries, magazines and Parliamentary Papers that have been digitised by the National Library and partners. It's a great site for information on historical crimes and primary source material related to New Zealand.
- Select a type of resource eg Newspapers .
- Search for the name of a person involved in a crime or a crime event eg 'Minnie Dean' or 'baby farming'.
- Or try words that were commonly used in the past, like rob, assault , steal , Magistrate court, drunk and disorderly , or Police Court.
DigitalNZ is a search site that focuses on New Zealand history and brings together results from lots of different websites. It’s an easy way of searching online resources from New Zealand libraries, museums, universities and government sites all at once, and has lots of primary sources. The results are grouped by the type of information, like images, videos, newspapers, articles and research papers.
- Search for 'crime' to find articles, images, videos and more.
- Or search for the name of a person involved in a crime or the name of a criminal event.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.
Your school or local library might have books about crime in New Zealand. Here are some that we found:
- Criminal justice : a New Zealand introduction by Jarrod Gilbert, Greg Newbold.
- The scene of the crime by Steve Braunias.
- Behind bars : real-life stories from inside New Zealand's prisons by Anna Leask.
- How to escape from prison by Paul Wood DR.