The Ministry of Justice’s New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey team has released results of nationwide phone surveys asking people about their experiences of the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown.
The two surveys were conducted from 12 to 27 April, with 630 people over the age of 15 years taking part.
The surveys asked questions about people’s experiences of the lockdown, such as their social connection, their perceptions of safety, experience of crime and reporting to Police, how easy the COVID-19 rules are to understand and perceptions of the criminal justice system.
The findings for both surveys were consistent, with the pattern of loneliness roughly similar to levels prior to the lockdown. The same result was evident with people’s concerns about being a victim of crime.
Nearly all respondents found the COVID-19 rules easy to understand and follow. An overwhelming 99% of respondents said Alert Level 4 rules were either clear or very clear to understand and they knew where they could go and what they could do. 97% of people said it was easy for them to follow the rules.
Most people were connecting socially. For just over a fifth of people though, loneliness was an issue, with about 4% of people saying they felt lonely most of the time.
Most people felt safe or very safe, but 1.8% felt unsafe at home. 27% of people noticed a problem in their neighbourhood, with the most common issues being dangerous driving and noisy neighbours.
79% of people thought that the criminal justice system response to the COVID-19 pandemic was good or excellent. However, 3% said that the response was poor. Most said that the criminal justice system should be tougher on those breaking the lockdown rules. Popular suggestions were to introduce instant fines for lockdown offences and to strengthen road patrols.
There was a noticeable 12% increase in the proportion of people who weren't worried about being a victim of crime, up to 89%.
The reports from these surveys have been sent to government agencies and other stakeholders in the justice sector as a resource for planning and policy work through the COVID-19 pandemic.