Wednesday, 23 April 2014

We're really not sure. But we definitely know.

From the BBC, a couple of days ago:

For most of the 20th Century crime rose and rose and rose. Every time a new home secretary took office in the UK - or their equivalents in justice and interior ministries elsewhere - officials would show them graphs and mumble apologetically that there was nothing they could do to stop crime rising.

Then, about 20 years ago, the trend reversed - and all the broad measures of key crimes have been falling ever since.

Offending has fallen in nations whose governments have implemented completely different policies to their neighbours.
If your nation locks up more criminals than the average, crime has fallen. If it locks up fewer... crime has fallen. Nobody seems to know for sure why.

But there are some people that believe the removal of lead from petrol was a key factor...

OK, in the spirit of Sherlock Holmes: "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".

The lead explanation seems pretty unlikely, but it's the best we've got so far (I believe the Freakonomics/abortion explanation has been shown to be rather doubtful)...

Oh no it isn't..!

From The Guardian, today:

Cost of alcohol credited for drop in serious violence in England and Wales

... "Violence is falling in many western countries and we don't know all the reasons why," Shepherd said. But he said changes in alcohol habits was a probable explanation.

"Binge drinking has become less frequent, and the proportion of youth who don't drink alcohol at all has risen sharply. Also, after decades in which alcohol has become more affordable, since 2008 it has become less affordable. For people most prone to involvement in violence – those aged 18 to 30 – falls in disposable income are probably an important factor."

UPDATE: as Pub Curmudgeon points out, if alcohol is getting more expensive, how do the bansturbators reconcile this with their bleating about "pocket money prices"?


Curmudgeon said...

And yet they’re always moaning that alcohol has become progressively more “affordable”, and is now available at “pocket-money prices”. So which is it to be, folks?

The Stigler said...

"The findings show that the numbers treated for serious violence in 2013 fell across all age groups. The largest fall – 18% – was among those aged 11-17 years, followed by a 14% drop among those aged 18 to 30, and 9% among those aged 30 to 50 years. The decline in the number of women and girls injured was four times greater than that for men and boys at 11% compared with 2.4%."

Do these journalists even bother to read and think?

The largest drop was in the under 18 age group, but this is about alcohol on a Saturday night?

Lola said...

but but but - I love the smell of 5 Star and I have been known to indulge in the odd bottle of booze and I am not a criminal. But I do run a retail financial services business so in the eyes of some perhaps I am...?

Bayard said...

"Do these journalists even bother to read and think?"

Why read and think when you can cut and paste?

Bayard said...

"Cost of alcohol credited for drop in serious violence in England and Wales"

The G journalists obviously stopped listening after the first five minutes of the radio programme. As far as I can remember they said that crime had fallen all round the world. If it has fallen in Muslim countries, then the cost of alcohol may be a factor, but it's not the cause. They also pointed out that crime generally had fallen, not just the sort of crime that is more likely to occur if you are drunk.

Mark Wadsworth said...

C, good point, I have updated.

TS, ha well spotted, the more you read these articles the more mistakes you spot.

B, exactly. And in countries which have got more violent, the main cause of death is lead poisoning.

Unless they're making bullets out of something else these days.

Bayard said...

Mark, you're forgetting about "knife crime".

Mark Wadsworth said...

B, knives aren't made of lead. Even I know that.