Monday, June 05, 2006

99.8% of knife-crime victims don't bother to report it. Huh?

More about delinquent youth, this time in the Guardian. According to their figures (source not given):
Number of homicides in 2004-05 caused by a blade or sharp instrument: 236
Number of people who were victims of knife crime in 2005: 2,859
Proportion of schoolchildren aged 15 and 16 who admit to routinely carrying a knife: 1 in 4
Percentage of schoolchildren who carry knives and admit having used them against people: 16%
Number of knife offences, including possession, recorded by police last year: 4,900
Percentage of those convicted of possession of knives who were jailed in 2004: 14%
We hate to be picky, but apart from the fact that these figures are nothing like those quoted in the Home Office’s ‘Delinquent Youth Groups’ report, they don’t actually add up.

The school population is 7.5 million. If 16% of ‘schoolchildren’ (are they different from ordinary children?) apparently admit to having used knives against someone else, then logically there should be 1,200,000 victims of knife crime. But there were 2,859 victims. Did the remaining 1,197,141 victims not think it was worth reporting?

We’re not condoning knife crime, or trying to pretend it isn’t serious, but these wild and conflicting figures don’t help anyone who is trying to sort out what is really going on. They merely fan public hysteria and provoke over-steer amongst policy-makers.


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