John Ray left a rather odd comment to my post about the continuing decrease in violent crime in England. He stated that police figures for gun crimes will be more accurate than survey figures. His statement is probably true (gun crime in England is too rare to be well measured by a survey), but not relevant to my post, which was about the decline in violent crime, and not about gun crime.
For those interested in gun crime, the statistics show that in 2003/4 police recorded about 10,000 firearms offence in England and Wales. Some of the subcategories showed decreases—for example, firearms robberies fell 13%, firearms homicides fell 15%, handgun crimes fell 7%; while others increased—for example, serious crimes of violence involving firearms rose 6% and firearms offences with slight injury rose 11%. Overall, there was no change in the total number of firearms offences.
However, after he posted his comment Ray posted this on his blog:
Gun control at work: The full scale of law and order breakdown in Britain was revealed last night. Gun crime has soared by 35 per cent, …. In the 12 months to March last year there were 9,974 offences involving firearms. Handgun use rose by 45 per cent, said official Government statistics. The figure has doubled since the post-Dunblane ban on such weapons from 2,636 in 1998 to 5,871… But the Government shrugged off the shock figures… The number of males murdered in shootings was up 41 per cent this year…. Paul Hampson of the Association of Chief Police Officers added: “The rise in gun offences concerns us all.”… The number of gun crimes recorded in London was 4,192 versus 2,817 in the previous year.
How could Ray report that gun crime has soared when it was actually stable? The answer is that instead of following the link I provided to the current statistics, Ray has searched until he has found a newspaper article that reported an increase. An article from January 2003 reporting on the figures from two years ago. In his post Ray neglects to tell his readers how old the report is, misleading them by making it appear that gun crime has been increasing in England when, in fact, it is stable.
Update: Ray has a new post where, apparently oblivious to his previous post and all previous discussion he links to same article again and asks:
What about the crimes that are reported but NOT recorded
Well, that’s why figures from crime surveys are more accurate.