Cybercrime Victims Reluctant to Call Cops

  • A survey by New Zealand’s Ministry of Justice has found that victims of crime in the Land of the Long White Cloud are least likely to report falling prey to cybercrime and sexual assault.

    A New Zealander was most likely to contact the police after being impacted by vehicle crime, according to the latest Ministry of Justice New Zealand Crime and Victim Survey. Researchers found that while car crime had an 89% chance of being reported, only around 7% of cybercrimes and sexual assaults were brought to the attention of the police.

    Shame, embarrassment, fear of reprisal, and the threat of further humiliation were cited as reasons why victims of cybercrime and sexual assault were unlikely to report the illegal activity to law enforcement.

    About 2% of adults experienced sexual assault in the previous 12 months. Victims were proportionately higher among females aged 15-19 (9%) and people with diverse sexualities aged 15-29 (14%).

    The survey revealed that while more people are reporting assaults, around three quarters of all crime in New Zealand goes unreported.

    The survey was set up in 2018 to collect information from around 8,000 randomly picked New Zealanders every year about their experience of crime. Participants must be aged 15 years or older.

    Since the survey began, the rate of reported crime has stayed the same at 25%. However, the rates of assault, robbery, harassment and threatening behavior reported to the police rose from 25% in 2019 to 30% in 2020.

    New Zealand police welcomed the increase in reports from victims of crime.

    Assistant Commissioner Bruce O’Brien told the New Zealand Herald: “There’s essentially more trust than ever that we will solve these incidents in a timely and effective manner.”

    He added: “If it’s not reported to us then our chances of being able to make a difference are significantly reduced. We can only solve crimes that we know about.”

    The survey revealed a significant decline in the number of burglaries in New Zealand from 18 per 100 households in 2018 to 14 per 100 households in 2020, while the country was under lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19.