Throughout most of 2009 the Daily Mail – and James Slack in particular – were either reporting on a crimewave that was already underway or predicting a massive rise of crime due to the recession. Here are just a few headlines:
‘The credit crunch crimewave: Increase in burglary and robbery is fuelled by economic downturn‘ – Daily Mail Reporter
‘The economic crisis is fuelling crime, new figures have showed. 31 police forces across England and Wales reported a rise in burglaries and robberies during the last four months of 2008.’
‘A ‘credit crunch crimewave’ is taking hold, with one family every two minutes suffering the misery of a burglary, it has emerged.’
‘As ‘credit crunch crimewave’ begins, serial burglars ‘failing to serve minimum sentences’‘ – Daily Mail Reporter (means it is simply a rehashed or copied press release)
‘Almost four out of five serial burglars fail to get the minimum punishment laid down by the law, according to figures released by the Conservatives.’
‘The number of thefts have jumped by a quarter sparking fears of a credit crunch crime wave fuelled by rising unemployment, official figures reveal today.’
Recession crimewave ‘will need more police‘ – James Slack
‘Burglary, mugging and theft will rocket by 25 per cent over the next two years as recession bites, police leaders will warn today.’
‘The recession may be triggering a rise in false reporting of burglaries, a chief constable has warned.’
‘Credit crunch crime wave: Theft, burglaries and fraud rise on the back of record unemployment‘ – Daily Mail Reporter
‘The recession has seen theft soar 25 per cent and shoplifting 10 per cent. The number of burglaries has also increased, the first rise in six years.’
‘Burglaries boom as credit crunch hardship leads to steep rise in crime‘ – Stephen Wright
‘Police forces across the country are reporting an upward trend in burglaries just as they did during the recessions of the 1970s and early 1990s.’
So, has Britain suffered a huge recession-fuelled outbreak of burglary? Err, no, not according to the lastest Home Office figures. It actually turns out that the average crime rate has fallen by 8% – which just happens to be the amount that burglary has fallen by. Criminal damage is down 11%, offence against vehicles is down 20%, robbery is down 9% and other theft offences have fallen by 5%. Fraud and forgery is down 13% and violence against the person is down 4%.
There has been a 7% increase in the theft of pedal cycles – but largely due to David Cameron having his stolen so many times. Theft from the person is up 7% (not matching some of the larger percentages predicted for general crime increase by the Mail and last – but certainly not least – sexual offences have increased 5%.
So I imagine that overall the figures are quite positive. It will be interesting to see how the Mail covers these figures. Will they focus on the negative figures, or try to claim that the ‘real’ or ‘true’ crime figures are much higher. I’d put money on them talking about the ‘real’ or ‘true’ crime rate being higher and that the Police are not recording the figures properly. Of course, if the figures had suited the Mail then they would repeat them without questioning them. Perhaps they might prove me wrong and report them accurately as a big of good news, maybe they’ll even include a brief mention of how they were sorry for scaring more vulnerable readers with their predictions of an impending crimewave.
What is clear is that although the BBC reported the figures this morning, the Daily Mail website (as far as I can see) has yet to report them. I imagine they would have managed to mention them by now if they did report a crimewave.
On the subject of crime it is disheartening to see today’s Mail frontpage dedicated to Munir Hussain’s release and a victory for ‘common sense’. So, according to the Daily Mail (the family values paper) participating in a brutal revenge attack on criminals whereby the criminal is beaten with weapons to an inch of their life is ‘common sense’. Certainly sadist punishment – such as the rack – is thought to be a perfectly acceptable to be meted out to criminals, just look at Mac’s ‘hilarious’ cartoon today.
How long before the vigilantes doling out horrific beatings will be in the same category as ‘law-abiding drivers’ being unfairly caught doing 90 on the M5?