Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Don't Tell Us It Isn't Happening

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Don't Tell Us It Isn't Happening

Article excerpt

Byline: Denise Robertson

THE airwaves are full of politicians telling us crime is down. They say statistics prove it. Well, Mark Twain once said: "There are lies, damn lies and statistics," and I'm on Twain's side.

The figure they all rely on is that there is less likelihood of being a victim of crime now than has been the case since 1981. What crimes are they talking about? Pinching milk off steps?

Losing your hub caps? Violent crime is down 8% this year but as it has gone up 100% in the last 10 years that is less than impressive.

And whose figures do we accept? Home Office figures? The British Crime Survey's figures? There are so many lists around you can't see the wood for the trees and none of them tally. Violent crime by children against children has gone up by a third in only three years according to figures from the Ministry of Justice. Convictions of under-18s for carrying weapons has doubled in a decade. If not, why are they proposing to install metal detectors in schools?

In London alone 27 teenagers were stabbed to death last year. There have been at least four deaths this year already. Two weeks ago, in a London suburb, a schoolgirl was beaten, gangraped and then had caustic soda poured over her to eliminate traces of her attacker's DNA. She is in a burns unit and fighting for her life.

Three youths are awaiting sentencing for kicking to death a harmless disabled man in Sunderland. In Warrington a father of three was beaten to death for protesting at youths who were vandalising cars. A few miles away a woman of 60 had to be put on life support after a thug fractured her face for refusing him a cigarette. She needs four metal plates to hold up her features and will be permanently blind in one eye.

A Channel Four documentary, Why Kids Kill, claims a teenager was killed on the streets of Britain every week last year. How can this be happening in what sometimes feels like the most regulated country in the world? Surely it's time for politicians to worry less about what's being put in dustbins and more about what's being put in bodybags. …

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