Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lies, damned lies and mobile phones

Like most things in this country, the debate about crime is generally expressed in terms of left and right. It goes like this:
The Daily Mail: We're going to hell in a handcart.
The Guardian: Oh, it's not as bad as all that. In fact, if you look at the statistics....
Into this dialogue of the deaf, just occasionally, a fact intrudes and makes you stop and think.
The British Crime Survey is the gold standard of crime stats. It's what governments quote from, at least when it suits them.
Rewind. When I was a teenager, hardly any of my peers had been the victim of any kind of crime.
Come back to date. I know lots of teenagers today and I don't know one male teenager who hasn't at one time or another been the victim of some kind of crime, generally involving having their phone "jacked". It happens so often they don't bother to mention it. I am horrified by how everyday it is.
Which makes it all the more remarkable that the British Crime Survey only records crimes involving sixteens and over. It can't be right.


  1. Anonymous11:42 pm

    It's a bit late to be getting into this, but while the BCS is the favoured measure when people want to talk about "true" crime, it only covers a limited number of crime types. It is supposed to be more comprehensive than reported crime stats because it employs interviews rather than relying on people making a crime report. The BCS estimates 70% of crime goes unreported, but makes no distinction between those who report crime and those who don't. And I could go on, but if I do I'll be here for hours.

  2. Anonymous7:54 pm

    It’s horrifying the amount of crime that takes place now where the police do not take the step to attend.
    A friend was recently burgled, in which they needlessly ransacked his whole house while he was away.
    When he phoned the police on arriving home, they asked him if they thought it was worth sending anybody out, before issuing him his crime number for insurance purposes.
    He enquired how they actually caught the criminals in cases like this, if nobody attended to the actual crime scene and was told that they didn’t.....

  3. So, what wa're saying here is - "We're going to hell in a handcart"

  4. Anonymous11:09 pm

    Well when I were a lad there were no mobile phones to be nicked. However there were all these lovely red boxes with phones in which all the youths would vandalise. Is it an expression of teenage unwillingness to communicate?

    There was always a background of kids being bullied into giving up dinner money, with the costs of mobiles these days today's kids probably consider it on par with my generation losing their dinner money. And we never ran to the Rozzers, just went hungry.

    I think there is an element of us viewing mobiles differently to the way a teenager would. For us it has important business contacts, etc on it. The loss of one has an impact beyond the cost we paid. Most kids have their friends numbers which they can retrieve quite easily.