Anorak News | Criminal Inactivity

Criminal Inactivity

by | 22nd, July 2004

‘DOORS locked? Windows bolted? Burglar alarm on? Can of Mace to the ready? Personal bodyguard at your side? Okay, you should be safe enough to carry on reading.

An arrestable offence?

You just can’t be too careful these days because Britain is a country teeming with would-be robbers, muggers, rapists and murderers.

You may not have been a victim of a serious crime yourself, but you know people who know people who have been…and, besides, it’s all over the papers.

Only a couple of days ago, for instance, the Telegraph was warning its readers that they would be better off in Baghdad than Blagdon, safer in Kabul than Kettering.

And today the same paper tells us that clear-up rates have fallen despite the extra police that the Government has recruited.

But there are lies, damned lies and the newspapers’ interpretation of official statistics.

And while Telegraph readers cower in their homes and beg everyone who comes to the door not to hurt them, Independent readers wander around with barely a care in the world.

For it appears that the risk of becoming a victim of crime today is the lowest since the British Crime Survey began in 1981.

Over the past decade, there has been a 39% drop in crime across the board and today there are 500,000 fewer victims of violent crime a year than there were in 1995.

‘The last time Britain enjoyed such a sustained fall in crime,’ says the paper, ‘was in 1898 – a decade in which ironically Jack The Ripper was terrorising Whitechapel, east London, murdering and mutilating at least five women.’

So why can’t you open a copy of the Daily Mail these days without learning that your throat is in imminent danger of being slashed by some drug-addled asylum seeker?

It is partly because for papers like the Mail the glass is always half empty.

It is no surprise, for instance, to learn that surveys have found that readers of such papers have the greatest fear of crime and their fears are out of all proportion with reality.

But it is also because the Independent’s story is based on the British Crime Survey (which is based on interviews with 40,000 people and includes even unreported crime), while the Telegraph uses official police records.

The official figures include anyone reporting a crime, even if it completely bogus.

‘An example of how ludicrous that can be,’ the Indy says, ‘is the inclusion this year of a recorded offence of treason made by a resident of Essex against George Galloway, the MP for Glasgow Kelvin, for his anti-war stance.’

But that doesn’t mean Anorak expects the police to ignore our many complaints about TV brainbox Carol Voderman for her numerous – and flagrant – crimes against fashion.’

Posted: 22nd, July 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink