Sunday, May 10, 2009

Clockwork Orange as the Droogs Take Over England's Streets

Claire Berlinski has a column on British crime that should serve as an admonitory signal to the US as it slouches toward Socialism. The British Ministry of Justice trumpets that statistically crime is decreasing in England and Wales, while the media and the public report anecdotally that British streets are not safe, especially in the public housing tracts that spawned The Droogs in Clockwork Orange, the famous novel and movie about post-socialist England written in the '70s and immortalized by Stanley Kubrick's stunning film classic starring Malcolm McDowell as a very convincing juvenile delinquent gangsta leader.

Berlinski compares today's London to 1980's New York City, which I visited on a monthly basis for weeks at a time during the period and well remember the lawless grunge that Democrat administrations had permitted ever since Kitty Genovese famously bled to death in Kew Gardens because fifty-odd neighbors refused to call the police. Rudy Giuliani was elected, busted subway and broken window cheats and suddenly found that most crimes were committed by very young hooligans who never before were challenged by flaccid, soft-on-crime Democrat administrations since Lindsay in the sixties. Berlinski takes the feckless Jacqui Smith, the fatuous Minister of Justice and her criminal-pampering colleagues in law enforcement to task in the article attached. First, CB proves the old adage, "lies, damned lies, and statistics," is particularly true with crime stats.
To understand why the dark figure of crime escapes exact measurement, realize that for a crime to be officially recorded, three things must happen: someone must be aware that a crime has been committed; someone must report that crime; and the police must accept that a law has been violated. But each link in the chain is easily broken. People may be unaware that a crime has been committed because they view it as normal or trivial behavior: in some neighborhoods, it would seem perfectly natural to settle a dispute with a good brawl, while in others, this would be seen as assault. Other crimes may go unrecognized because the victims are unaware that they have been victimized—either because of the nature of the crime, such as fraud, or because the victims are drunk, mentally ill, or otherwise incapable of understanding what has happened.

But that is only the beginning of the cascade of conditions which prevent crimes from being reported. CB ticks off a long list of reasons that even when victims recognize a crime has been committed, crime goes unreported.
immigrants who don’t speak the language well enough to explain what happened to them. Rapes can go unreported because the victims are ashamed. So-called victimless crimes involving sex and drugs also go unreported, of course, because the criminals have no motivation to inform the police that they are hiring prostitutes or shooting up. Crimes can also go unreported because victims fear reprisals. Above all, crimes can go unreported because victims feel no confidence in the police and see reporting a crime as pointless. Even if a crime is reported, it will not necessarily be added to the official statistics. The police may conclude, for example, that there is insufficient evidence to believe the report. Moreover, poorly performing police departments have an incentive to stop recording crimes: it makes them look more successful than they are. For these reasons and many more, criminologists commonly posit that the dark figure of crime is far larger than the official figure—perhaps by as much as an order of magnitude. And there is good reason to believe that in Britain, the dark figure is unusually high.

Berlinski points out the silliness behind the rosy stats Jacqui advances to justify her competence, which most observers believe is lacking in all sorts of areas due to her loony Janet-from-another-Planet Napolitano stance toward political dissidents. [Patriots are a threat because they wish to defend the country from Islamist terrorists---ala Napolitano.] Smith's MoJ policy of not prosecuting serial offenders or letting them off with token "fines" which are never paid has resulted in a great leap of violent crime and a reluctance to report petty crime by Londoners and others due to slack enforcement practices:
[Note] the even grimmer picture painted by police records of violent crime. Sure enough, when the rules changed in 1998, the total number of violent crimes recorded jumped from 231,000 to 503,000. But then, even after the switch, it continued to rise sharply, hitting a peak of 1.06 million in 2006. That number has since declined only slightly: in 2008, the number of police-recorded violent crimes stood at 961,000. When it comes to violence, in other words, Police Recorded Crime actually confirms the public’s general view.

Further, the recent decline to 4.95 million total crimes recorded could well mean that the public has lost faith in the criminal-justice system and no longer believes that reporting crimes will result in the punishment of the perpetrators. Support for this hypothesis comes from a British Federation of Small Businesses poll indicating that 60 percent of businesses in London had been victims of crime in the past year. But proprietors reported to the police only half of the burglaries, vehicle thefts, and assaults that they suffered—and not a single case of arson. They didn’t think that the offenders would be caught and punished, they explained. Going to the police just wasn’t worth their time.

And the methodology of the British Crime Survey is severely flawed in that respondents are selected from among homeowners, and not renters, skewing the statistical base away from poorer neighborhoods where crimes usually take place. One of the designers of the BCS, a "criminologist" named Hough, exemplifies the unaccountable nature of the small-time bureaucrats who shrug their shoulders at the fact that the BCS overlooks the vast majority [only 5 million of 26 million crimes are reported] by the classic rejoinder of "triviality," suely the time-honored favorite dodge of the bureaucrat.
"Are the revised crime estimates significant? It is “true but trivial,” says Mike Hough, a criminologist at King’s College London who has helped design the BCS since it began in 1981, that if you include all crimes, “an astronomical amount of crime is committed.” Surely nobody is really in a panic about petty crimes, he adds."

But this may be false logic, or a sort of deliberate avoidance of the basic problems facing enforcement---a feeling among petty criminals that even if they get caught, they get off with a slap on the wrist.
But not all the repeat crime is petty: according to Farrell and Pease’s study, if calculated correctly, violent crime would be 82 percent higher. The BCS figures, on their own terms, show substantial drops since 1995 in “acquaintance” and “domestic” violence, but “stranger” violence and muggings—the kind of violent crime that really terrifies people—remain at their extraordinarily high mid-nineties levels.

The limp-wristed excuses of the smug petty functionaries in the MoJ and their academic co-conspirators contradict the incessant complaints of law enforcement police on the beat:
Officials at every level of the British criminal-justice system—detectives, judges, prison officials, probation officers—complain that too few criminals are caught and that those who are caught rarely receive sentences that will function as a deterrent. Lack of resources and a massive bureaucracy hamper police efforts: the average time to process an arrest in London is over ten hours, and the number of forms that must be filled out averages about 35, according to various analyses. Home Office figures released in 2007 show that police officers in England and Wales spend only about 13 percent of their time on patrol—and 20 percent on paperwork.

One London cop in the Criminal Investigation Division blames the police’s ineffectiveness on the unintended effects of community policing. “There was a perception that there weren’t enough beat cops—people who knew the local area,” he remembers, which led to sending extra cops to problem spots. “But in practice, they ended up going to community meetings and liaison. They’re not actually dealing with minor crimes. If they were answering emergency calls and dealing with minor crimes instead of doing community liaison, that would indeed take a huge load off the system, but they’re not. So in practice, what this means is that when I started working as a police officer, there were 25 people on staff answering 999 calls”—the British equivalent of 911. “Now there are 15.”

Perhaps as a consequence, more than two-thirds of burglaries reported to the London police are never investigated, according to police figures released under the Freedom of Information Act and obtained by the Daily Telegraph. Under 10 percent result in an arrest. And even if an arrest leads to a conviction, it’s unlikely to include real punishment. The London policeman adds that it’s common for a burglar to be arrested 30 times a year, taken to court 20 times a year, and punished with nothing more than a fine—“which is meaningless, because they can’t pay. There’s no chance that with minor-level crimes you’ll go to prison.” A London magistrate clarifies: “It’s not that they can’t pay, it’s that they won’t—and the system doesn’t push the point.” Theodore Dalrymple, a contributing editor of City Journal and a former prison doctor, tells me that he recently met a burglar on his 57th conviction. The burglar was fined 50 pounds, to be paid in five-pound installments—considerably less than someone in a legitimate business, making a comparable amount of money, would pay in taxes.

Dalrymple is a medical doctor who has served in the British Public Health Service and in WHO around the world. He has written a number of books on the seedy underworld of the socialist nightmare infested by criminals and politicians who tax the rich to in effect subsidize and aid/abet the crimes of the poor. As Berlinski notes, the habitual underreporting of crime, the lackadaisical policework following a crime and the general hopelessness concerning less-than-serious crimes has produced a clone of New York City before Giuliani applied tough love to clean up the streets:
The situation in Britain, then, resembles that of 1980s New York, whose crime problems were routinely called insoluble. What the British government fails to understand is that the majority of serious crimes are committed by a small cadre of criminals, who are also, disproportionately, the authors of minor crimes. If you lock these criminals up—reliably, and for a long time—crime will drop precipitously. The reason Broken Windows policing works is not that it is inherently important to jail every petty thug who breaks a window; it is that the window-breakers tend to be muggers, rapists, burglars, and murderers as well. If you get them off the streets, the rate of serious crime will fall. To dismiss as “true but trivial” the finding that “an astronomical amount of crime is committed” in Britain is only half right. The British people know this full well, even if their government does not.

The rise in hooliganism and violent crime might be obscured by statistical hocus pocus wielded by self-serving functionaries wishing to obscure colossal failure of a social model for political reasons. But hopefully, the historic common sense of the British people will overcome the preposterous rubbish their government attempts to peddle in order to re-elect a Labour Party gone seriously off the rails.

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