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Mark Easton on knife crime

The BBC’s Mark Easton on current reports of a knife crime epidemic:
After my post on Friday looking at the hospital admission figures for stab and gunshot victims in England, a story was widely reported that knife violence accounts for 14,000 people in Britain being admitted into hospital last year.

… I have checked out the story and discovered that the figure includes not only attacks but also accidental injuries from knives and other sharp implements. If one looks only at assaults with sharp objects (stabbings to you and me) the figure for the UK halves to about 7,000.

… However, knives have become political weapons. No politician wants to be accused of complacency, so rhetoric trumps analysis. It wouldn’t matter if exaggerating the scale of the problem didn’t make it more likely youngsters will seek to protect themselves with knives and the wider population will needlessly worry about what is a tiny risk for all but a few.

… Ministers want police to have better information for their community crime mapping. What I suspect such an exercise would reveal is that knife crime is rising in some inner-city areas, fuelled by gang culture, drugs and alcohol. However, it may actually be falling in much of the UK and I remain sceptical that there is good evidence of a national “epidemic”. [BBC]

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
strictlytrue
Jul. 8th, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC)
I saw that article, and nearly posted about it. I couldn't believe that anyone in the media - even the BBC which I still have some respect for - would be allowed to simply sit down and write the truth, eschewing the apparently compulsory diet of fearmongering and hysterical panic that now seems to constitute news broadcasting. This man deserves some sort of medal. (no Chris Morris icon for him...)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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