Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Crime in the UK: Sweeping Things Under the Rug

There is at least one discussion of crime in the UK, and as usually happens, someone has linked to one or both of my most current posts on the subject: People Refuse to Believe This is True about the UK being declared the most violent country in Europe (with a higher per captia rate than South Africa) and the older Crime in the UK versus Crime in the US, comparing various statistics.

Anyway, neither of them is too current, so I thought I would take a look at what be more current.

This just leaped off the screen. Violent crimes are being ignored by police, says report - Crime, UK - The Independent That's what they found - crimes that are reported are recorded (for the official surveys AND follow up) as "no crime."
Violent crimes such as assault and domestic attacks are routinely being wrongly ignored by the police rather than investigated, a report revealed today.

The police inspectorate found that one in three decisions to record a violent incident as “no crime” were wrong. If the findings, based on a small sample, are repeated across England and Wales it would mean that an estimated 5,000 violent offences a year are being wrongly dismissed.
Small samples are tricky to deal with, but it seems that there is a clear case of under-reporting.

But then this isn't anything new.
In 2002 a study found that 11 million crimes had been left out of British government figures, including hundreds of thousands of serious crimes involving woundings, robberies, assaults and even murders as well as thefts. Dr. David Green of the Civitas research institute said: "When you check the small print, it turns out the Home Office itself thinks that there were far more than the 13 million crimes discovered by the [official] British Crime Survey, perhaps four times as many." Dr Green said the Office of National Statistics was subject to political interference and a genuinely independent statistical service was needed.
So, what can be said about the rates of crime in the UK? Probably only that they are under-reported.

On a related note... There is also a lot of noise about "gun crime" in the UK. Some reports are that it is up over 600 percent. (Though few people view The Mirror as a definitive source.) But when ever people talk about "gun crime" I usually think they are trying to obscure something. Is it better to be shot, or hit in the head with a blunt instrument? The real issue is the level of violent crime.

No comments: