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Friday, August 21, 2015

England + Wales trend: Less violence than rest of the world

TO BE AWARE crime in England and Wales shows a trend of non-violence should be considered encouraging for anti-knife crime work.

With all crime at the lowest levels for about 30 years, the non-violence trend brings real hope that campaigners can make much progress to further reduce crimes carried out with sharp instruments - where knife crime figures are circa 26,000+ per year at present.

The trend I highlight is connected to robberies. Robberies account for about 1% of recorded crime while burglaries register 24%. In the USA, while burglaries still outnumber robberies, the proportion of robberies in the crime total is 4x higher.

And how does the tally look for murders on this island of ours, the most serious of crimes? In fact, there is less chance of being murdered in England than most other industrialised societies, according to official figures. (I've flagged this in previous posts, some of you may recall.)

The English murder rate is below that for Japan, less than half that for Germany or France, an eighth of the rate for Scotland or Italy and 26x lower than the United States.

It seems this island of ours has more respect for one another than the citizens of many other countries spread across this fragile planet of ours.

I came across this analysis in Jeremy Paxman's book, The English.  His figure for numbers of robberies is perhaps misleading where the 'Violence against the person' figure (from the Office for National Statistics - ONS - website) is far higher - but the fact there is an obvious trend against violence in this country versus other nations is, as I said, hopeful.

Also notable is the type of Englishman (it's almost always a male!) Paxman highlights as prone to violence... someone like a football hooligan.

Paxman describes one incident where the Swiss had held England to a 1-1 draw in a European Championship match. The Swiss fans were good natured and relatively quiet and unthreatening.

However, at one point outside Wembley, a young shaven headed Englishman eyeballed the Swiss on the other side of the street, ran across the road, shoved his face six inches from one of the young Swiss men in the crowd and screamed 'Wanker' at him.

The Swiss look baffled. The Englishman gesticulated, moving his hand up and down. 'You wanker!' he screamed again, drew back his fist, punched the man in the face and walked through the crowd. 

His walk was casual, cocky, slow enough to invite someone to retaliate for their friend's injury - he was now doubled up, with blood pouring from his nose. But none came, and the thug swaggered off down the pavement, doubtless eager to tell his friends he'd 'done' one of the visiting fans.

Apparently, this is how part of the English population has always been. Fighting (and drunkenness) is considered to be a birthright, maybe. I certainly remember a few from my school days - and those older thugs from the odd Pompey match I had seen (of 657 Crew infamy) and plenty of documentaries on football hooliganism (e.g. Millwall and Chelsea types immediately come to mind).

I can't help thinking that this football fighter caricature applies to those idiots who use weapons. It is a way for these louts / yobs to proclaim their identity; these are the targets to reach. 

As time goes by, I can see that this anti-violence campaign work is not unlike an analogy with the Egyptians of old... an influential nationwide campaign and movement is being built, stone by stone, that deserves to see a remarkable monument (Pyramid) completed to mark a more peaceful nation and world... one day. I would like to predict this is achieved sooner rather than later.

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