Thursday 25 January 2018

Crime Statistics - Yeah, Right

What is a citizen to make of "soaring crime rates"?  This from the same source that gave us steadily falling cime statistics fro the mid 1990s.  Periodically one reads about various factors suggesting the falling trend might be true - something to do with flourine in the water or no lead in petrol any more.  It would be nice if it were true - it would set us looking for some more equally controllable factors to work on.

Suspicious inflection in 1996 ...
Then there are the 'freakonomics' factoids:  murder rates are down because surgeons are much better at saving the victims of gun and knife.  And all manner of other contributory factors - such as the invention of new crimes - and the ignoring of others (like insider frauds the banks never report, which we've discussed before).

I'd also like to know (and maybe our good friend Kev could tell us) - when did senior police officers start getting bonuses based on crime statistics?   On the graph from that Grauniad article, 1996 is a very suspicious inflection-point (even though that's the Crime Survey rather than police data).

And ... whether ACPO has had a meeting, when it was discussed if their financial lobbying efforts might be better served by seeing that long downwards trend going into reverse.  Here's an interesting quote (Grauniad again). "May risks facing a repeat of the period from 1988 to 1992, when police recorded crime figures doubled in England and Wales. The Tories were in power then ..."

Just wondering, that's all.  I expect that's a thought-crime now - another plus for the statistics.



Anonymous said...

We're being told the BCS figures show falling crime. On the other hand, it's pretty hard to claim that an increase in robbery, a pretty well defined crime, is down to different recording methods.

The years when Ken Clarke was cutting the budgets are delivering. I forget who was Home Secretary over that period.

dearieme said...

"1996 is a very suspicious inflection-point": no it isn't, it's a turning point. You have just failed O-level maths.

Steven_L said...

Are vehicle thefts up because of keyless entry / start?

Electro-Kevin said...

I have no idea about rewards.

I was with a group last week that would have answered that for me - or maybe not.

Bill Quango MP said...

The last time I ever heard of a police person attending a shoplifting crime was in 1996.
After that date only if violence threatened.

After about 2002 a few days to attend a break in.

One time I called the cops to report a warehouse break in. “Bloke has come in through the skylight. Broke the glass.’
“Ok . I will get someone to give you a crime number in a few weeks or so.”
“Need to be a bit sooner than that.”
“Sorry. We are fully stretched and can’t attend. Before a few weeks.”
“Ok. But you m Got want to come a bit sooner. Seems the bloke fell through the skylight I’m guessing. He’s dead on the floor.”

Fell about forty feet. Roof to ground.

On another occasion I called the local police to tell them a gang of Eastern Europeans were fixing fake screens and readers to the atms in Wembley high street. Said I was 100% positive. And they were outside the NatWest right now.
They told me to inform the bank. Told them the bank wouldn’t open for a few hours.
“Well...ring them later on.”

In the 1980s I reported a cash theft from a van and never expected the police to attend. What could they do? Nothing.
But they sent an officer who did some checks and asked some witnesses. Was very heartening. If pointless.

Electro-Kevin said...

It seems that you are more at risk of being murdered if you like Hip Hop and Rap *music*.

Whilst I am unhappy that the authorities have let murder double since the abolition of hanging I feel safer in the knowledge that my taste in music is eclectic.

I make a point of listening to EMENEM at home and through headphones.

We don't need more police - the ban on investigating Rap related violence is the correct one.

A waste of resources on those who choose to pollute their brains.

Raedwald said...

Some years ago, prior to the introduction of SNTs (safer neighbourhood teams) in London, I spent some time wading through police activity data for a problem area. We were trying to establish a quantitative base for an initiative to 'design out' crime. In addition to attendance at actual crimes, much police activity was 'call out to disturbance'. Over half. Of the crimes, over 90% were non-indictable.

In other words over 95% of police activity is low-level stuff that could equally be dealt with by security guards licenced to operate in the public realm with powers of arrest and detention somewhere between those of 'any person' and a 'constable' in law.

PCSOs were actually the germ of a good idea - but should have been given greater powers and their own, independent command structure up to borough commander level, and most importantly, should have been responsivce to local democratic (council watch committee) direction rather than political manipulation from the centre.

As a Localist I wholly believe in Peelian principles. Complex plodding - indictable crime, public order, terrorism, city fraud, intelligence, serious and organised, drugs et al - should make use of expensive and highly trained professional officers with pensions and early retirement. All the rest can be done locally, and cheaply.

Electro-Kevin said...

Litter, grafitti, dog shit and the smoking of weed in public places hand over these spaces to the lawless.

Police should clamp down on this but such work is beneath them.

I hear it worked in New York.

Electro-Kevin said...

It is not so much who goes to these places as who doesn't.

When the general citizen feels empowered and backed up they are inclined to be less tolerant of low level crime too.

Charlie said...

PCSOs may well have been a good idea, but the recruitment strategy, at least here in London, is woeful. I've dealt with two PCSOs, one just last week. They were both, to put it kindly, thick. One asked me to sign a statement that didn't remotely resemble what I actually said. The cheap, local "Security Guard+" idea would, in reality, mean that your local police force would be made up of these PCSO types, traffic wardens and retail security staff. No thanks.

James Higham said...

"Complex plodding"

Like it.

Blisse said...

Well, documented crime fall rates happened in many countries not quite synchronously, and the most plausible explanation was the phasing out of leaded petrol.
Also police forces had KPIs based on the mission to reduce "feat of crime", not "crime", because it is "fear of crime" that drives the behaviour of the middle class affluent middle aged and older people who swing elections.

Apart from that policing has been affected by several factors:

* The Conservatives needed the police to break strikes and other "political" work once handled by the cavalry, but according to peelian principles, police and strikers were both working class and lived in the same communities, with obvious issues as to "loyalty". So the Conservatives changed the class composition of the police lower levels, turning them from cheap security guards into middle class recruits often with degrees, and much better paid than before, so they would live in middle class neighbourhoods.

* Unfortunately the middle class affluent middle aged and older people who swing elections also want to pay low taxes and don't want to pay for large numbers of middle class graduates in the police, so various "force multipliers" have been deployed, from outsourcing admin tasks to laws that require less police investigation and make conviction easier to PCSOs actually doing a lot of policing.

The resulting mess is simply due to the usual strong desire of middle class affluent middle aged and older people to have their cake and eat it, whatever the topic.