In the Guardian – I think only online – is an adaptation of that blog post about falling murder rates in LA.
As a self-confessed amateur of this topic, I have taken the opportunity of buying Chris Williams’ book on History and Crime. I have seen an earlier chapter on the difficulty of extrapolating from crime stats, and for me it confirms Chris’s comment here:
As far as we can make out, there’s a massive variation in reporting rates for all types of crime in the UK, with the long-term trend being for far more crimes – violent and non-violent – to be reported. We may well be getting more violent – we may well be getting less violent – we may well be getting more screwed up by equal or ebbing amounts of violence – something else may be happening: but in any event, the numbers are a very bad way of attempting to measure this.
But I think murder rates are reasonably unambiguous and do not tell a picture of Broken Britain.
Now I know this topic winds people up. I’m ducking out till I’ve received Chris’s book.
Favourite comments so far.
have lived in the same part of inner city Manchester for about 18 years now. An area of multiple deprivation, high crime, gangs, guns, drugs, all the rest. I drink in rough pubs, walk around on my own late at night, know a few dodgy characters.I feel vastly safer now than I did 15 – 18 years ago. It’s ages since anyone I know was mugged, whereas I used to hear about it all the time. I see fewer fights and puddles of blood in the road than I used to.
You are called Giles, I suspect you don’t live in a place that is particularly violent
And once they stop fulminating about my (admittedly posh) name, reasonable Paul , who thinks I may have made a better fist of it, says
Can i suggest you re-read the final para of my post.I said the fear of
crime was actually greater than the risk,And when i asked what was
fuelling the fear-maybe the media?-i meant with regard to the media,s
possible role in fuelling unnecessary panic.ie there are not murderers,
rapists, child abusers etc lurking in dark alleys in every community
Finally, I think ‘testy’ puts it far better than I have
I hope you understand how meaningless this sought of study is. The category ‘violent crime’ is simply too broad in scope and definition to mean anything congrete. Tolerance of aggression and violence is constantly shifting dragging our conception of ‘violent crime’ along with it. So where you say that ‘violent crime’ has increased by 44%, I say what is the character of today’s ‘violent crime’ versus the ‘violent crime’ of ten or even twenty years ago.
Oh, finally finally. This comment is so thorough on the BCS that I am putting it here just to bookmark it.