Saturday, April 30, 2005

Youth And Age (And Crime Figures)

The police say that the 86 year old woman, found bruised, dehydrated and cowering under a pile of clothes in her utility room, dying two days later in hospital, was not murdered. Apparently she died of 'natural causes' - as you do when you've been beaten up in your own home aged 86. She'd lived there for 60 years.

She was traumatised when found and could only whimper. From her hospital bed she whispered 'have the two boys who hurt my head gone away ?'. The house was disordered.

Meanwhile in Anglesey there are problems with vandalism and anti-social behaviour. Two weeks ago it was reported that "One tiny village, Dwyran, has become a no-go zone at night after becoming terrorised by yob gangs. Extra police were drafted in to deal with the problem, but their patrol car was trashed as they walked the streets." Funny - North Wales Police are so good when it comes to speeding drivers and racism.

Let's just go back to the theory again.

Home Office minister Hazel Blears on anti-social behaviour :

"we are seeing much more cooperation from the courts in making sure decent people who are prepared to stand up and challenge this behaviour are properly protected."

Alwyn Jones stood up and challenged the behaviour. Just like William Bird did in Bridgwater.

A man is being
treated for stab wounds after apparently confronting a gang of youths outside his home.

Alwyn Jones, who is thought to be in his 50s, is in a serious condition in hospital following the incident in a small village in Anglesey, north Wales.

Witnesses claimed Mr Jones, believed to be a father of five, was attacked after shouting at the gang for throwing stones.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said the gang, who are thought to be between 18 and 20, were laughing and cheering as Mr Jones collapsed.

Every time an incident like this occurs (and there have been many), a few hundred more people take note and decide that they won't intervene when they see anti-social behaviour. This is to some extent encouraged by the police, who would rather we locked ourselves in our homes and dialled 999. So a culture dies.

Back to the poor old lady.

The figures for householders killed by burglars, supplied by the Home Office in 2001 to the Tony Martin Support Group (scroll down from top of page to see figures), tell a sombre tale. Even looking at the raw data makes one shiver.

"Male,90 - Strangulation"
"Female, 91 - Beating"
"Female, 87 - Blunt instr"

The octogenarian couple suffocated by three men. These perpetrators, remember, are the guys the Liberal Democrats think should have the vote.

The risk of being murdered in your home by a burglar is still statistically low - but it is five times greater for over-75s and ten times greater for over 85s. You could argue that there's a low-intensity war being waged by the young on the old.

The Magistrate, whose blog is generally excellent, seems surprisingly to have been converted to the 'moral panic' liberal view that real crime hasn't increased.

"The only thing of which I am sure is that nobody knows how much crime there is, or how much crime there was in the old days. If anyone tells you that they do know, you know that you are listening to nonsense."

So there's no way we can say that crime's increased, is there ? Maybe the teachers unions have always been calling for metal detectors, CCTV, a police station on the premises and compulsory parenting classes. Maybe.

I'll have to repeat myself and quote Norman Dennis at Civitas blog.

In the first eleven months of 2004, the year of Mr Blunkett's departure, with December's figure of about 2,500 still to be added in, there have been 33,673 personal-property robberies in London--with December included, not fewer than 36,000 for the full year.

Thus Mr Blunkett has not succeeded in getting the figures back even to the 35,709 personal-property robberies of 2000. Mr Blunkett was all the further, of course, from getting back to the figure with which Mr Straw began, the 27,000 of 1997, which included business robberies as well.

Robberies of personal property in London is a good figure to take. The Home Office is directly responsible for London's policing. There's been no significant change in how it robbery is defined. The category of "robberies" has hardly affected by changes in recording practices by the police. The British Crime Survey has too few cases of robbery for it to be of much use, so the Home Office uses the police figures. The figures are right up to date, so officials and ministers cannot claim that things have (unprovably) improved since the figures were collected.

For all these reasons, the usual slipping and sliding between one set of figures and another is not possible here.

On the assumption that the December 2004 figure will be very low at 2,500, robberies in London would have fallen from 48,000 in 2001 to 36,000 in 2004.

But as late as 1990 there weren't as many as 36,000 robberies in the whole of England and Wales!

Taking the generous and hopeful estimate I suggested above--that the figure for London for December 2004 might be only 2,500--as late as 1961 there weren't as many as 2,500 robberies a year in the whole of England and Wales.

In the year David Blunkett became Home Secretary, 2001, there were 5,900 robberies in Lambeth alone. The national figure for robberies did not exceed 5,900 until 1969.

It is scarcely an occasion for popular celebration when the figure for Lambeth alone in the first 11 months of this year is 2,419. For this is more than the national figure of robberies for the full twelve months of 1961, 2,349, just before the cultural revolution began to shower its blessings upon us.

No the wonder people "fear" that crime is growing. People would have had to be extremely stupid not to come to fear crime. The stupid thing is to say that the fear of crime is "as much the problem" as crime itself.

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