Tuesday, January 25, 2005

British Crime Survey

The latest results of the British Crime Survey are out and are reported by the BBC. Leading on a headline of "Violent Crime increases by 6%", the report also covers overall crime.

Ministers said the violent crime figure was affected by changes to the way police record the crimes and pointed to a 6% fall in all crimes recorded.

Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said: "It is very encouraging to see that crime is continuing to fall.

"Compared to the peak of crime in the mid nineties there are now each year 1.4 million fewer victims of car crime, half a million fewer victims of violent crime and 600,000 fewer households burgled."

The Home Office press release is headlined "CRIME CONTINUES TO FALL" and says:
Government figures published today show that crime in England and Wales continues to fall, with the risk of being a victim of crime, at 25 per cent, the lowest in more than 20 years.

Unfortunately for Ms Blears, when the last survey was released, it was pointed out by the Crime and Society Foundation that because the BCS doesn't cover many crimes it cannot be used to justify claims about the overall level of crime. Indeed Ms Blears said at the time:

"The BCS is accepted worldwide as the most authoritative basis on which we can track current crime and trends in crime over time. "We entirely accept that it does not measure everything in terms of crime. "It measures big volume crimes - things that affect most people in their everyday lives, such as getting burgled, getting their car stolen."

[...] the Home Office said the government used statistics "appropriately" and had never claimed to measure "total crime".

Well they are claiming that now. Should we believe them....?

According to a Home Office study, quoted in the Crime and Society Foundation
report, there were more than 60 million offences committed in the year 1999/2000. That's five or six times the number reported in the BCS

.....no, we shouldn't.