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Monday, 26 November 2012

Do you understand crime?

I am sure that 99.999% of the UK population do not understand official crime statistics. In otherwords I am saying out of a population of about 60 million less that 600 people fully understand official crime statistics. In fact I am being generous, I would be surprised if it is more that 60. If someone were to tell me it was less than 6 I would not argue with them. Just to say I do but only because I spent 30 years in the police trying to undestand them and 4 years doing a PhD on the subject.

The graph above shows two different ways of recording burglaries in people's houses in London from May 2008 until September 2012. The blue line shows the number of police calls that were shown as 'burglary dwelling' the red line shows the number of officially recorded 'burglary dwelling' crimes. The green line shows the difference between the two figures. This is taken from and interesting new data source which can be found here

The graph here is the same data but collated by calender year with a table showing the counts. The difference between the two is almost as much as the recorded crime figure. Why are so many reported crimes not not recorded as such? What is more important the incident figure or the counted crime figure?

To answer the first one you will have to read my thesis. The second question can be answered in two ways. Counted or in other-words official police recorded crime statistics are important because that is what is used to make policy decisions by police, politicians and civil servant. But I argue that the incident figures are more important because that more closely reflect the public's perception of the nature and level of crime. The is important because peoples' perceptions affect their actions and their attitudes.

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