Let's play a game

The Metroplolitan Police Authority has published new figures for homicide and violent crime, comparing 12 months up to June 2007 with 12 months up to June 2008. How long before the tabloids leap all over the figures and bellow front page headlines at us about them? Go on, guess.

Made your guess? Now read on.

Okay - now I can tell you that the figures show that knife crime has dropped in the capital by 14%, robbery is down by 24%, youth violence is down by 7% and homicide is down by 12%. Here they are in full if you don't believe me.

Want to change your guess?

Of course, we may see some coverage that either:

1. Pretends the figures say something they didn't. Probably by mixing the figures up with some unrelated ones from somewhere else to make it look as though they say knife crime has 'soared'. You know the sort of thing. 'Crime in London 'soars', say police' in the headline, stats revealing that someone not in the police says cake baking has risen by a few percent in the main body of the story, real stats tucked away at the bottom.

2. Bangs on about how you can't trust police statistics. Except when they tell you there are more black people involved in committing knife crime, and more white victims. Then you can even pretend 'unknown' victims means 'white', even though the one explanation for who those unknown people are says they're black. And it's alright to include that explanation even though it contradicts one of the main premises of your article, because it assumes the black victims are villains anyway.

3. Attacks lefties for ignoring the truth. Why are you ignoring the truth? Feral youths on the streets have knives that can freeze your spleen. Won't someone think of the children's spleens?

But we'll probably see nothing but tumbleweeds.

I got these stats from Mark Easton's marvellous blog at the BBC. The comments there include the most perfect distillation of the first sentence in no. 2. You can't trust police statistics because:
If you beleive other government figures accidents are down at speed camera sites.

That is why they are covering up the fact that a motocyclist was killed last week at a camera site because he braked and the numpty behind him in a car tail-ended him.

It is not an isolated case. Norfolk "safety camera partnership" and the bbc are covering up the footage that the BBC had clearly showing braking for speed cameras causing accidents.

I'll beleive crime is reducing when i see it. three people I know have had their motorcycles stolen this year that is up from one last year a 300% increase. My partners car was keyed this year thats up from no times last year.

Priceless. Accidents can't be down at speed camera sites because this fella knows of some accidents at some speed camera sites in Norfolk. Crime can't be down in London because he knows some people who had their motorbikes nicked and someone who had their car keyed last year (in Norfolk, by the looks of things).

Hat tip to Anton Vowl at the ever-cool Enemies of Reason for this one. Top spot, that.


Chris said...

This is a common trick amongst Mail Readers.

"Global warming can't exist because it's cold"

And now creeping in are:

"Accidents can't be down because I know one that happened"
"Crime can't be down cos my neighbour's cousin's best friend's brother got mugged"

You have to be a special kind of stupid to think that trend and point are the same thing.

Sim-O said...

I'm off to Norfolk next week, I'm gonna get me a job lot of locks and chains and flog them to motorcyclists there.

To me it just sounds like this chaps found a gap in the market.