April 11, 2006

Crime in the UK: London vs. New York

Big BenThe American Spectator [also at TFS Magnum] New York, under the leadership of Mayor Guiliani, saw a tremendous reduction in crime rates. This was attributed in part to the "zero tolerance" policy. No crimes were ignored on the theory that ignoring minor crime lead to serious crime.

Now Britain, far from adopting zero-tolerance, looks like it's adopting a policy of not prosecuting many serious crimes at all. ...

The Home Office says offenses that may now be dealt with by a caution include burglary of a shop or office, threatening to kill, actual bodily harm, and possession of Class A drugs such as heroin or cocaine if police decide a caution would be the best approach.

LibertyOther crimes including common assault, threatening behavior, sex with an underage girl or boy, and car theft should normally be dealt with by a caution, if the offenders admit their guilt but have no criminal record.

Here are few of the stats - you know I love the statistics.
  • New York has a population of 8 million, London 7 million
  • London's crime rate is about 7 times that of New York
  • Police budgets are comparable
  • New York has 40% more cops on the beat
That last one is interesting.

British papers retail many incidents of British police, rather than preventing crime, being kept busy "celebrating diversity" and prosecuting politically incorrect remarks and behavior (large amounts of money and court time have been spent by the Crown Prosecution Service on cases of children who have made politically incorrect remarks in school playground fights, for instance).
It seems that they really do have the "Political Correctness" police.

Of course as bad as the statistics are, they don't represent the truth. Cooking the books, by the politicos to make Labour look good, is a common problem.

In 2002 a study found that 11 million crimes had been left out of British government figures, including hundreds of thousands of serious crimes involving woundings, robberies, assaults and even murders as well as thefts. Dr. David Green of the Civitas research institute said: "When you check the small print, it turns out the Home Office itself thinks that there were far more than the 13 million crimes discovered by the [official] British Crime Survey, perhaps four times as many." Dr Green said the Office of National Statistics was subject to political interference and a genuinely independent statistical service was needed.
The official statistics are off by as much as 400%? That seems insane.

And of course the British government loves to prosecute self-defense. To the point that, "There have been doubts expressed that a right to self-defense still exists in British law." But don't expect the police to protect you from violent crime.

So crime will come with no punishment by the police or courts in Britain. You are barred from doing anything that might conceivably be construed as self-defense or you will be arrested. Apparently the Labour government hates Capitalism so much they have never heard of price elasticity of demand. Make something cheap, and you will get more of it. Make something expensive, and you will see less of it. Committing crime in the UK today is cheap and getting cheaper. With no down-side, no armed citizen defending themselves, no chance of a prison term, not even the hastle of appearing in court, in Britain it seems that crime does pay.

What has all this produced? A year over year increase of 11% for gun crime (in gun free England?), and an 18% increase in sexual assault.

Civitas said previously that the rise in British crime-rates was "so spectacular" that it was "difficult to comprehend." Britain was "a seriously crime-infected and disintegrating society." Burglaries had increased from 72,000 in 1964 to 402,000 in 2004. Robberies of personal property had risen from 3,000 in 1964 to 101,000 in 2003-04. The report added: "England, from being a society remarkably free of crime and disorder, especially from the middle of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century, by the late 1990's had a worse record than France, Germany or the United States."
It is the people who are paying the price.
A study by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research in June 2005 found that violence from teenage thugs had a major impact on the lives of one in five of the population. According to a 2005 survey of 200,000 National Health Service workers, one third of ambulance staff and more than one half of paramedics had been subjected to violence in the course of their work.
We know, from the example of Guiliani's New York, how to reduce crime in a major urban center like London. It seems that the Labour government is not interested in following that lead because the actions required in cracking down on crime would require fixing their court system, and building more prison cells. These do not fit in with their idea of what is PC.

Posted by Zendo Deb at April 11, 2006 08:51 AM | TrackBack

There is a term which comes to mind - Nimby. The reason we dont have more prisons. Everyone says we need them, but everyone is quite sure that we need them *elsewhere*. Not In My Back Yard.

The same problem is currently delaying a wind-farm.

Try looking for the crime statistics by age - the adult population is actually quite good. But we have a lot of unruly youths causing problems. Trouble with a culture of rebellion, where its cool to attack authority. If The Man says its illegal, good reason to do it.

Posted by: Suricou Raven at April 12, 2006 04:52 PM

It doesn't surprise me that the criminals are young. The young always prey on the old...

The point is that crime in the UK is out-of-control and no one in authority is doing anything about it, and in fact they seem to be actively diverting police resources away from the core problem.

I would bet there are some economically depressed areas of England that would be glad to absorb a few hundred jobs a prison would mean. Of course the dole being what it is, perhaps not.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at April 12, 2006 09:26 PM

You can blame our government for that - they like to quick-fix things. Every time there is a problem, they come up with some bold reform plan, a grand vision to solve it. And so far, only one of those bold visions (The london Congestion Charge) has actually worked.

The NHS struggling? Management reform.
The unruley youth? ASBOs.
Struggling schools? Trust schools... and I could give a very long rant on that one which can be summed up as 'conflict of interest.'
Immigration overload? Introduce a points system.

How they survive election after election I have no idea at all.

Posted by: Suricou Raven at April 16, 2006 07:08 PM

"How they survive election after election I have no idea at all."

This is a mystery to me as well.... Though both our governments seem to be having trouble with some of these things - immigration overload, and schools, etc.

I was surprised that the Conservatives couldn't get in office on a "Law and Order" campaign...

Posted by: Zendo Deb at April 16, 2006 07:22 PM