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Violent Crime: Conviction Rates & Measurement Of Crime

Instead of the annual tables of crimes recorded by the police, the government cites the British Crime Survey, based on regular opinion poll-style interviews, which seeks to extrapolate how commonly people fall victim to different types of crime. Hardly the most scientific of measures, and consequently the statistics hide some considerable truths.

According to a written Home Office statement reported in the Observer, the British Crime Survey is 'considered the more reliable measure of violent crime, as it covers crimes that are not reported to the police', and its figures are not affected by changes in police recording methods. If we choose to believe the BCS, 'long-term trends show substantial declines in levels of violent crimes', with an 11 per cent fall last year.

Almost half the 2.4 million 'violent incidents' that the BCS estimates happened last year involved no injuries at all, and most of the rest caused only very minor ones. Just 2 per cent required a visit to hospital. Quite how it is more accurate than the figures provided by the police, when it comes to serious violent crime, is a mystery. The more serious the assault, the more reliable the police figures become: stabbings or beatings that leave their victim near to death are not likely to pass unreported.

The Home Office statistics offer insight into crimes that involve 'woundings or other acts endangering life':
1980 - 4,390 acts committed leading to 1,277 (29%) convicted.
1997 - 12,531 acts committed leading to 1,864 (14.8%) convicted.
2004/5 - 19,425 acts committed leading to 1,897 (9.7%) convicted.

For Robbery - another serious violent crime - the figures show similar trends:
1980 - 15,800 acts committed leading to 3,600 (22.7%) convictions.
1997- 63,072 acts committed leading to 6,426 (10.2%) convictions.
2004/5 - 88,710 acts committed leading to 7,932 (8.9%) convictions.

The recorded figures for rapes against females are also a problem:
1980 - 1,200 acts committed leading to 457 (38%) convictions.
1997 - 6,281 acts committed leading to 576 (9.2%) convictions.
2004-5 - 12,867 acts committed leading to 706 (5.5%) convictions.

Perhaps prisons are not all to blame - the police and criminal justice system must also have it's fair share of blame for our increasing crime rates. One thing is for sure, however, no one knows if crime rates are falling or increasing.


This is a great blog!

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Superb! (I wrote something else and then I read below that I aint supposed ter. So I deleted it.)

Superb! (I wrote something else and then I read below that I aint supposed ter. So I deleted it.)

If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.

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