Friday, 25 September 2009

Never let a day go by

I’m reading The Divine Comedy at the moment.

Italian poetry was not at the heart my English literature studies, though the Lord only knows that everybody up to the 19th Century novelists referred to it often enough, the unoriginal swine. How unlike us innocent and constantly innovating 21st Century bloggers.

Anyway, bit of false advertising on Dante’s part because - aside from a really rather good crack about a bishop and a baboon and the famous running gag about the size of the Pope’s crook - it’s not exactly proving to be a laugh a minute, know what I mean?

The point of it being a comedy is that it’ll get better by the third part (Divine Comedy 3: in Paradise it’s a Scream), but at the first it’s pretty grim as we see the sinners punished in Hell in a variety of imaginative and appropriate-seeming ways for such crimes as incest and adultery and sodomy and greed.

And sometimes all of them in the same act. Kyewl!

Neutrality in the sense of never taking a stand over any moral issue gets you eternity running after a military banner and being stung by wasps and hornets (and anyone who’s ever heard an Italian scooter engine will know how annoying that can be). I can’t wait to see what saying the N word while white will get you.

It’s all very satisfactory so far in a Daily Mail Readers’ Comment Section sort of way.

One frequent feature of the sinners when Dante and his guide Virgil (not Virgil as in W-w-w-well, Mi-Mister T-Tracy, but the other one) interview them along the lines of what have they got you in here for?, is their dishonesty in their attempts to delude both themselves and their visitors about the nature of the sins and their own culpability for them.

The sinners will do anything; say anything, to deny the rightness of their torments and the wickedness of their damning sins.

It’s all very modern-seeming…

Good news from the doughty Guardian newspaper.

The murder rate in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years, with 648 homicides recorded in 2008/09 – 136 fewer than the year before. Home Office statisticians said the drop was "not a blip".

Annual crime figures published yesterday show the number of murders and manslaughters and infanticides fell to a level not seen since 1989.

Let’s come back to that good news later, shall we?

A detailed breakdown follows:

The crime figures also show that the recession has so far had a less than expected impact on the underlying crime rate, although domestic burglary has risen by 1% in the past year, fraud – including credit card and online fraud – has risen by 5% and shoplifting has increased by 10%.

But the overall crime rate in England and Wales in the 12 months to March 2009 is officially declared to have remained stable with an estimated 10.7m offences as measured by the British Crime Survey (BCS).

That’s only about one ‘offence’ per six people resident in the UK. Knock off ‘offences’ like the illegal use of dustbins to dispose of rubbish and reporting school bullying, and it’s Earthly paradise, here we come.

Crime in England and Wales actually fell by 5% according to the less reliable police-recorded crime figures.

Now if anyone; anyone at all, wants to explain why police recorded crime figures are held to be less reliable than those produced by the noble Home Office statisticians, then feel free to use this blog’s comments facility.

Home Office statisticians asked yesterday about the impact of the recession on the crime figures said: "There may be pressures coming through. This recession is quite different from the last, which happened at a time of increases in crime. This is one where crime is falling."

Now this is really rather good news for someone, ideologically, and well worth remembering. The previous recession - and I suppose it must mean the one under the Tories as I don’t recall any part of the last 12 years being described as a ‘recession’ until a footnote in a BBC article about the ‘recovery’ on the BBC last week – made crime rates rise. Do you remember it back in the early/mid 1990s and even before that in the manufacturing jobs holocaust of the 1980s – all those poor, underfunded single mums and former lathe operators and Yorkshire pit pony replacements breaking into the homes of the rich to steal fresh fruit and vegetables and proper text-books for their malnourished and non-grammar schooled children?

It had been expected that domestic burglary, which rose by 4% during the calender year 2008, would continue to rise but the 1% increase recorded in this set of figures implies that the economic slowdown is not having the expected effect on the underlying crime rate.

New Labour’s recession – so prudent and prosperous that even the poor feel less need to housebreak.

Some individual categories of crime, such as credit card and online fraud are showing increases. But an apparent 25% surge in personal thefts, including pickpocketing and "stealth" theft, which show up on the BCS, is recorded as a 12% fall in the police-recorded crime figures, suggesting that the picture is unclear.

No – not unclear. It suggests in fact that A) bureaucracies tend to become politicised and therefore they do what politicised bureaucracies do, and that B) both Home Office and the police ‘service’ are politicised bureaucracies, and that C) personal theft is possibly up, possibly down, but definitely moving in one particular direction, but we’re not sure which direction, just like global temperatures appear to be changing, but generally in a downward direction, which is why we call it global warming and not global cooling. Remember, we’re both using the Al Gore-invented Internet here, dear Reader - bear with me.

The figures also show a 313% increase to 818 cases in frauds by company directors.

A development so sinister; so obviously and unequivocally hazardous to our way of life and indeed to the continued existence of multicellular life on Earth itself, that the Guardian needs to offer no more details.

(Author’s note – evading legitimate taxes and ordering goods and services that a director has no intention of paying the suppliers for are Bad Things, and I’d like to know more and see such criminals punished severely for it.)

The reduction in the homicide rate, which includes murder, manslaughter and infanticide, means the annual total of 648

That’s fewer than two per day. Rejoice.

… is now close to the 1979 figure of 629. Attempted murders also fell by 7% last year.

Nice choice of date there. After 12 years of murder rates reducing, New Labour have got the number down to the low level it was at the end of the last Labour government to bankrupt the nations’ finances.

Overall violent crime was reported to have remained stable by the BCS and fell by 6% on the police figures. Violence against the person involving injury fell by 7% to 421,000 incidents.

There was a significant further fall in gun crime with the number of incidents involving a firearm down by 17% to 8,184. The number of fatal shootings fell from 53 to 38.

Good on our paramedics – and bad on all those illegal gun owners whose sharpshooting appears to be on the wane. Hmm, law abiding sportsmen and firearms enthusiasts have been disarmed for twelve years now. And yet, somehow, a few dozen people are being shot each year. Could it be that the threat of death by gunshot is coming from some other community than amateur target shooters and huntsmen? I wonder how much of officialdom takes the rap for these encouraging figures?

The Home Office chief statistician, David Blunt,

His name, no doubt, proletarianised from David Blount-Instrument.

… said there was little change, however recorded, in overall levels of knife crime. This is despite recent government claims to have made progress in the most-affected areas. The number of fatal stabbings has fallen in the past from 270 to 252 but attempted murders involving a knife were up from 245 to 271. Robberies involving knives were down 2% from 17,058 to 16,701.

That’s about only one stabbing per 5000 people in Britain. not bad.

It’s reassuring to think that, of the next 5000 people you see on the high street and at the supermarket and at motorway service stations, only one of them will suffer from the serious prospect of having several inches of steel stuck into their body or scored across their face this year.

Credit card fraud, particularly involving online shopping transactions, continues to rise, with 2.8m fraudulent transactions recorded last year. "Card not present" fraud has soared by 243% since 2001 in line with the rapid growth of online shopping. To meet the problem banks are replacing online use of pin numbers and security codes with passwords.

The annual crime figures also show sex offences fell by 4% to 51,000 recorded offences, but within that figure rapes of women increased by 5% to 12,000 cases.

Yey! The porn industry’s either dealing with the soft-core flashers, peeping toms and gropers by taking them out of the picture by putting their dreams into the pictures, or is inspiring more to take it to the next level. Maybe improved and cheaper supplies of dental hygiene items and globalisation cheap clothing and toiletries are getting a few more of the former sort laid once in a while? Good thing we’re not so messed up about sex after decades of liberalism and freedom.

One thought concerning some of these rapes; how many are gang–based, and what, if any, is the demographic breakdown? Or are these highly specialized burglaries from the declining/not declining stealth theft figures? Who can tell?

There was a slight rise in the risk of becoming a crime victim in England and Wales – 22% to 23%. This compares with the 40% risk when crime peaked in 1995.

Despite this sustained fall in crime in England and Wales over the past 14 years the majority of the public – 75% – believe crime is increasing nationally. People tend to have a more positive view of their own neighbourhood.

Like me.

I voted on YouGov recently to say my own neighbourhood was OK – but the one next door isn’t – there was one of that dwindling number of murders in the next street but one earlier this year, which is over the canal. But the poll didn’t ask me about over the canal – just about my neighbourhood and the country as a whole.

Only about half think crime is on the increase in their area.

Public confidence in the police and local councils to tackle antisocial behaviour appears to have increased and is up from 45% to 49% even though the home secretary, Alan Johnson, said recently he believed the government had been "coasting" on the issue.

This is the last annual set of crime figures to be published before the general election. Johnson called them "encouraging" but the Conservatives claimed the government was covering up the scale of the problem of knife crime.

Now, back to that first good news.

The murder rate in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level in 20 years, with 648 homicides recorded in 2008/09 – 136 fewer than the year before. Home Office statisticians said the drop was "not a blip".

Annual crime figures published yesterday show the number of murders and manslaughters and infanticides fell to a level not seen since 1989.

the number of murders and manslaughters and infanticides fell to a level not seen since 1989.

the number of murders and manslaughters and infanticides.

murders and manslaughters and infanticides.

Let’s look at a few weeks’ news from a town that’s been Labour forever, and which should therefore be an earthly paradise and not the sexist, patriarchal, homophobic Christian Paradise of Italian poet Dante.

murders. Only attempted. Phew!

murders. Not so phew.

murders and manslaughters and infanticides. Maybe the full set, but let’s wait and see what the court decides.

Arson (but not against young children this time) seems to make the cut here and here, and the heroic rescue by local MP from would-be self-arson by an immigrant here.

Regarding that last one, I actually like living in a country whose elected representatives value human life so much in person that they risk burns to save their deranged fellow-man. I could and do join one of the commentators in wondering why this worthy and not very expensive UK MP is spending our valuable time looking after an illegal immigrant rather than her actual constituents and countrymen, but still and all her motives were of the finest.

And that’s why we ought to save Western civilisation (formerly known as ‘Christendom’), and not try to delete it.

Despite this sustained fall in crime in England and Wales over the past 14 years the majority of the public – 75% – believe crime is increasing nationally. People tend to have a more positive view of their own neighbourhood.

Compared to the neighbourhood next door, mine is Paradise of Earth. But only compared to them.

And so, dear Guardian writer, would you care to speculate why the majority of unenlightened and honest (because anonymous) layman polled members of You Gov and crime surveys don’t believe or trust mutually contradictory official crime statistics?

Do you know what your sin might be?

We know what the punishment is, and who’s on the receiving end.

1 comment:

James Higham said...

Amazing what can be done with stats to produce the opposite to what's really happening, isn't it?


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