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Crimes Committed Against Asian New Zealanders Rising

Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

The percentage of Asian adults experiencing crime in New Zealand has increased over the past six years, driven by a rise in fraud, deception and discrimination, a new report shows.

The Ministry of Justic released the latest New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey on Thursday, offering an insight into the nature of reported and unreported crime nationwide.

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The survey shows that the proportion of Asian adults experiencing crime increased from 24 percent in 2018 to 30 percent in 2023.

The increase was primarily driven by a significant rise in fraud and deception from 2 percent in 2018 to 10 percent in 2023, it said.

Over the same period, Asian adults experienced smaller increases in vehicle offences (from 6 percent to 9 percent), theft and damage offences (from 2 percent to 4 percent) and interpersonal violence (from 3 percent to 4 percent).

Victimisation rates among Asian adults increased significantly for Chinese and other Asians, but less substantially for Indian adults, it said.

Within Asian adults, the proportion of Chinese adults who experienced crime increased from 19 percent in 2018 to 29 percent in 2023, and the proportion of other Asians (neither Chinese nor Indian), increased from 23 percent to 32 percent over the same period.

In contrast, the proportion of Indian adults who experienced crime increased just slightly from 29 percent in 2018 to 30 percent in 2023.

The groups of Asian adults who have experienced larger increases in victimisation than comparative groups over the past six years were women aged 30-39 and 50-59 years old who were not under financial stress and lived in the Canterbury region, or in the North Island outside of Wellington and Auckland.

Meanwhile, Asian adults who were younger (aged 15-29 years old) and those who experienced financial stress have seen decreases in victimisation over the same period.

The report also noted that online safety practices and discrimination may have contributed to the increase in victimisation experienced by Asian adults.

"This increase may be attributed to lower awareness among Asian New Zealanders about keeping safe and secure online," the report said.

It has quoted the Netsafe 2023 Annual Population Survey Report, which said 56 percent of Asian New Zealanders are less likely than average to have taken steps to protect themselves or others online.

"Additionally, Asian New Zealanders generally have lower knowledge of the different organisations available that deal with unwanted digital communication issues," the crime survey said.

It also said the rise in vehicle offences, theft, damage and interpersonal violence targeting Asian adults may reflect a rise in discrimination against people of Asian descent since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

While victimisation rates increased significantly for Chinese and other Asians, the increase for Indian adults were comparatively less substantial, which is consistent with findings from a research report that showed that significantly more Chinese (35 percent) reported experiencing racial discrimination and stigmatisation than Indian (18 percent) and other Asians, it said.

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