Are you an expert in documenting family trees? Can you tie together the relationships of many people? If so, as a public service, you might like to help the Christchurch, New Zealand, Police Department find some criminals.
Christchurch police are targeting the ten families with the most prolific offenders - and have taken the unusual step of preparing family trees to help keep track of all the family members. By knowing who is related to whom, police are able to identify possible suspects much more quickly than by regular investigative means.
It seems that the ten criminal families have cost New Zealand taxpayers $53 million to bring them to justice. The $53 million figure is based on a Treasury study that calculated the cost of crime. The figure, which is known to be conservative, covers police, court, and prison costs, but excludes the cost of youth offences dealt with in alternative ways.
Of the 177 members of the top crime families living in the Canterbury region, 127 have come to police notice. Over five years they were arrested for 1808 offences, ranging from burglary to assault, vehicle thefts, and drugs.
One four-generation family of 74 has clocked up 673 offences nationally, costing $2.4 million over five years. One couple, a 53-year old woman and her 52-year-old partner with 70 charges between them, had produced four prolific burglar sons. The eldest, at 26, had 99 offences, mostly for vehicle theft. His youngest brother, 18, was catching up with 71.
Canterbury District Commander Superintendent Sandra Manderson said: "These families ... are not in the top 10 for any other reason than they are very prolific offenders and they have criminality running right through their family."
I can see the arrest scene now: "Honest, officer, I'm not the man you want. Here's my pedigree chart to prove it."