Crime? What Crime?

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 109 months ago
Crime? What Crime?

Knives_22Jan09.jpg
Image courtesy of parl under a Creative Commons Attribution licence
There's a bit of confusion on the crime statistics front, particularly that perennial favourite, knife crime. National figures for last summer show a jump of 18% in knife crime, but the Met are claiming a 12% drop. Eh?

Alright, so the Met's figures are for all 2008 whereas the national stats are for July to September. Has the rest of England and Wales suddenly witnessed an outbreak of hoodies wielding breadknives in rural villages? Seems unlikely, and we're sure Worried of Wiltshire would have been complaining loudly to the Daily Mail. We can believe a clampdown in the capital has led to a drop, but unless we're dealing with a quirk in the nature of percentages for the rest of the country (you know, how an increase from 2 to 4 is 50% - * see comments) we still find it a bit strange.

The Met has also been outed as one of the police forces who've under-reported serious crime for up to a decade. In a nutshell, an incident of GBH with intent, but where the victim wasn't seriously harmed, (say, ooo, an attacker armed with a knife who never actually uses it) hasn't been recorded as 'most serious violence' but as the less serious 'assault'. Et voila: messed up crime stats. There's currently no data for GBH and Assault for the Met's October and November 2008 figures, presumably while they get themselves sorted. But it's not inspiring confidence when we hear about how crime has gone up or down.

For other illegal activities: gun crime and robbery are down but rapes are increasing, as is domestic violence. To be honest, right now we're so confused about how they arrive at these numbers we're inclined to put our heads down, whimper, and give up on the whole thing.

Last Updated 22 January 2009

esotericbadger
you know, how an increase from 2 to 4 is 50%

Ahem. That would be a 100% increase... If you're doing a piece about misuse of stats, best to get yours right!

RachelH

Haha, excellent point and well made! I think it's clear from the article that stats confuse me... I'll leave it in there rather than amending to illustrate the point :-)

esotericbadger

I think (as the article shows) those crime stats would confuse anyone. I'm reminded of Season 3 of The Wire... Where's London's hamsterdam, then?