Criminal Nonsense

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It’s a sad day when you don’t even need to look up the actual figures to realise the media and political classes are talking utter balls on crime.

An 8% increase in robberies? No an 8% increase in recorded robberies. To give this some perspective, one other statistic hidden in the Guardian coverage today was that just 38% of violent crime is reported. According to the British Crime Survey, an annual survey of 50,000 people (vastly higher than the 500-1,000 surveys newspapers commission themselves and then claim have been written on tablets of stone), violent crime is stable.

You have never had it so good. The only exception is, possibly, if you’re young. Under 16 year olds are not interviewed as part of the BCS so crime against young people is not recorded in it. It is therefore conceivable that the recorded increase is due to an increase in crime against kids, largely perpetated by other kids.

The only way in which that angle gets covered in the media however is to blame kids themselves for carrying MP3s and mobile phones. Strangely, no one ever blames pensioners for getting mugged despite the fact they make it really easy for people.
Top prize for most idiotic remark of the day must go to Nick Clegg, who put in a press release that:

The rise in these violent offences is fuelling the fear of crime which runs deep in the public consciousness.

Or, to paraphrase:

The possible increase in young people getting mugged allows irresponsible politicians like me to scare the bejesus out of Daily Mail reading grannies. Hurrah! As for mobile phone masts and the MMR jab, they’re really scary! Wooo!

He couldn’t sound more Mark Oaten-like if he tried. Let’s hope he isn’t in the market for a glass coffee table.

6 thoughts on “Criminal Nonsense

  1. The only problem with what Nick has said there is that it’s faintly unmemorable and analytical. What he needs to be saying is what the Lib Dems would do to tackle street robberies. That’s the story.

  2. Well, the most effective way to deal with street robberies is to have more people on the streets, not quivering behind the lace curtains at home. This paen to the nanny state doesn’t help anyone.

  3. O.k. but that doesn’t really get us anywhere. From the perception of people who live in areas where street robbery is a risk for them and their children, “get out there and enjoy the neighbourhood” doesn’t strike me as a compelling position that addresses their concerns.

    We need to be clear first what we’re going to do about the criminals then about any crime prevention measures that make such criminal activity less likely and then anything people can do to help themselves to reduce risk. Reverse the order and the Lib Dems sound complacent.

  4. We need to be clear first what we’re going to do about the criminals then about any crime prevention measures that make such criminal activity less likely and then anything people can do to help themselves to reduce risk.
    Fine. Perhaps you could tell me in which part of that press release did Nick Clegg address any of that?

  5. He doesn’t, I’m in part agreeing with you that we have a problem in the way we talk about crime, and my blog entry ast night was on that theme. I’m not sure though that the issue with that press release was opportunism, more that it didn’t say anything compelling or memorable that displayed an understanding of where the public are on this.

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