29 April 2011

Crime Myths

The 'strong on crime' rhetoric that disfigured the recent NSW state election would have us believe that 'crime' - in particular violent crime perpetrated by strangers rather than by the people with whom you share your dwelling - is increasing and can be reduced through the sharp smack of 'law & order', restrictions on knives or spending on public cctv.

The reality is somewhat different, illustrated by data in the New South Wales Recorded Crime Statistics 2010 [PDF] from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics & Research. (It would be nice, by the way, to see similar compilations from the other jurisdictions.)

The 60 page NSW report presents data extracted from the Computerised Operational Policing System (COPS) of the NSW Police Force in February 2011 regarding -
crime reported to, or detected by, the NSW Police Force from January 1995 to December 2010, with a focus on the statistical trends for the 24 months ending December 2010.
The Bureau comments that -
The broad picture among the 17 major offence categories is largely one of stable or falling crime. In the 24 months to December 2010, ten of the 17 major offences were stable and seven were trending downwards. No major offences were trending upwards across the State.

The downward trend in assault on licensed premises reported in the last two quarters has dropped back to stable across all licensed premises, but continued for clubs (down 16.9%) and nightclub/licensed restaurant/winebar (down 16.8%).