Well, it seems the UK tabloid press is continuing its efforts to make “middle England” terrified of shadows without any real basis. Yesterday’s Mail on Sunday has ensured that its readership have “evidence” that Britain is descending into anarchy and the police crime statistics (as well as the victim reported data in the British Crime Survey) is just nonsense.
In a nutshell, the article is about Ms Sarah Schaefer (senior adviser to Foreign Secretary David Miliband) who was “carjacked” in a posh London street last Tuesday. She was driving along the street, when a “thug” jumped out in front of her, forced her to stop and jumped in the passenger seat. Ms Schaefer fled the car and threw the keys away (obviously the car was more important to her than any mere prevention of harm). The unnamed “thug” found the keys, got in the car and fled with it (later crashing).
Now all in all, this is a reasonably traumatic experience and it is sad that Ms Schaefer underwent it. However as far as the Daily Mail is concerned this is proof that the UK is in a grip of unprecedented levels of crime – despite any claims to the contrary by the police or government. Very early in the (erm) article, the breathless “journalists” write:
The ordeal of Sarah Schaefer is a major setback to Labour’s rubbishing of Conservative claims that the rise in violent crime has led to “anarchy in the UK”.
I know I can be slow on the uptake but I don’t get this. How does ONE crime support the Conservative’s claims? Is there some mystic aura about Ms Schaefer which means she can only become the victim of crime when 75% of the population has been? She is one person. Nothing in the article gives any indication as to the true rates of this type of crime (check BCS if you are that bored) but it has this bit or terror inducement:
The attack on Ms Schaefer is a stark reminder that crimes such as carjacking, once associated only with ghettos in the US and South Africa, are now commonplace here â€“ and can occur in neighbourhoods popular with the middle classes.
This is mind boggling. Carjacking is not commonplace on the mainland UK. For those unfortunate enough to live in Northern Ireland, however, carjacking is more common and has been for 2o years. The sad part is the Daily Mail (and its readership) would never want to let facts or statistics get in the way of a good bit of fear.
Just in case the (insane?) middle England readership of the Mail missed the point they were trying to be given, the article finishes with:
Ms Schaefer is just the latest highprofile person to fall victim to rising crime.
Muggers stole a mobile phone from Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan’s daughter Chloe, 19, while she was making a call in Notting Hill’s fashionable Portobello Road in March.
Chelsea and England footballer Frank Lampard’s Â£8million West London home was burgled in May 2005 as the star and his girlfriend Elen Rives slept upstairs.
And high-profile divorcee Beverley Charman, 54 â€“ awarded a Â£48million payout â€“ was tied up at her Kent home and robbed of jewellery worth Â£300,000 in March.
This is more of the odd way the media seem to blow the lives of the rich and famous out of all proportions. The claim that this is the result of “rising crime” is more than misleading, it has no basis in fact and it certainly is not supported by anything in the newspaper. There are thousands of “rich and famous” people who live in the UK. If you include “high profile” then we could have in the region of 100,000 people to consider. This newspaper article identifies FOUR who have been the victim of crime and seems to cover the period of May 2005 – Sep 2007.
This makes the rate of crime around 1.3 per 100,000 people per year – if this is “rising” how low was it in the past? If this is really representative of the nation (as the article seems to imply) then we have a crime rate of 871 crimes throughout the UK per year. Blimey. What a safe nation.
The only way I can see that this article tries to show “rising” crime is that there seems to have only been 1 high profile crime between May 2005 and March 2007, but since March this year there have been three. Even then it is farcical.
Sometimes I really do wonder what goes on in the minds of people who read this sort of drivel and believe it (check the comments out if you want a laugh). Most of the Mail readers I have met in real life actually hold to the ideas the paper puts forwards (much to my frustration), most are from fairly affluent backgrounds and most have never been the victim of any crime in their life. Despite this all talk about how “bad” things are, how children are unruly, how crime is out of control and how someone they know, knows some one who has been burgled. It almost makes me want to cry.
[tags]Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Rant, Society, Law, idiots, Idiocy, Bad Journalism, Crime, Rich People, Famous People, Crime Rates, British Crime Survey, Statistics, Bad Statistics, Carjacking, Sarah Schaefer, Anarchy, Britain, UK, Criminals[/tags]