Source: (2006) In, Report on the 2006 COnference -- 'Beyond Retribution.' Aukland, NZ: Prison Fellowship New Zealand. pp. 119-127.

There are few issues that evoke such powerful emotional responses in the community as crime and punishment. For many people, fear of crime is second only to fear of death. In many ways, crime is a kind of death, for, like death, crime can enter person’s life at any time, destroy forever their sense of safety and security, and leave a legacy of anxiety and mistrust. Politicians know this all too well. They know how much people worry about crime, or can be made to worry about crime, and, quite cynically at times, exploit this worry for their own sectional advantage. Such worry is magnified out of all proportion by selective and sensationalist coverage of crime in the mass media. Even though reported crime rates in New Zealand have fallen steadily in recent years, even though our murder rate has been largely static over the last decade, even though much more violence occurs in the family home than on the streets, media concentration on a few high profile and particularly nasty crimes feeds a general perception that crime is spiralling out of all control and that one’s chances of being attacked, raped or murdered are much greater today than ever before. In many ways, then, we live in an age of anxiety. Despite that fact that average living standards have never been higher, life expectancy has never been longer, and individual freedoms have never been more protected than they are today, a general climate of insecurity pervades many sections of society. (excerpt)

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