A while ago I Wrote about the Bulletin and Tim Blair’s ignorance of basic statistics. Blair could not comprehend how random sampling could give more accurate crime statistics than police reports, while the Bulletin reported numbers from an Internet poll without noting that the poll also found that 66% of Australians were male.
Well, Blair is back for more, apparently believing that he wins the argument with a study from “the respected Crime and Society Foundation” finding an increase in homicides.
All right, he’s accepted the authority of the Crime and Society Foundation. Let’s se what Richard Garside, Crime and Society Foundation Director, said on the crime survey vs police reports question:
So, however useful police figures are, they tell us more about how good the police are at finding out about crime than they do about how much crime there really is.
To get a better picture of real crime you need to ask members of the public, and this is what the other set of figures – the British Crime Survey (BCS) – does.
Researchers for the BCS interviewed more than 45,000 people over the course of the last year, asking them about their experience of crime victimisation.
This kind of approach will pick up some crime that victims would not report to the police – as a result the numbers are bigger.
Now, there has been an increase in homicide in England and Wales, but homicide is a tiny fraction of total violent crimes which have been decreasing. The only new information in this latest study is the increase in homicides from 2004 to 2005. And most of that increase was the result of the London bombings.