23 August 2007

Don't Panic! Knife deaths (like Gun deaths) are falling.

"there were 243 'homicides with a sharp instrument' in 1995 and 236 in 2005".
There is much I disagree with in Simon Jenkins' article (indeed with Simon Jenkins' views in general) but that one line shows how our current media can distort. That one line is all we need to know to demonstrate that things are not 'getting worse' (although we are looking at the products of the Thatcher generation)...

As I have shown with the debate on gun deaths, the situation is actually improving. That is not to say that we haven't still got a serious problem with youths out of control. Even the smallest of minorities in that kind of mental state can cause big problems.

The solution is simple...but it could mean a little more taxes to pay. Those on the Right will never have a solution to this - because their solutions have been tried and failed many times - their Old Testament 'lock em up' does not work, as our prison population demonstrates. Neither does grandstanding on morals - pretending that by simply saying it, they can radically change behaviour - they cannot.

Finally neither does the Right's reliance on 'the free market' to magically solve everything, work. In fact 'the free market' is exactly the problem. There is no short-term economic incentive for the private sector to keep our youth - active, healthy, educationally and sportingly engaged in rewarding worthwhile pursuits, there is just not enough money to be made - which is why our youth are left to wander the streets aimlessly. Only taxpayers can provide the long-term planning to engage our youth and improve the efficiency of our economic infrastructure in the process. Businesses have proved they cannot think that far ahead, 'the market' does not allow them that time. Like evolution - the 'free market' is a process that is nasty, brutish and wasteful. Left to the distorted market (for that is the true picture without decent regulation to keep it in check) the majority have to suffer for the few to prosper. But with intelligence, societies can and do rise above this - the more equal societies can have strong economic performance and of course lower crime, in fact I would argue that more equal societies prosper precisely because of their tax funded expenditure on education, social security, health, transport etc.

6 comments:

  1. The solution is simple...but it could mean a little more taxes to pay.

    Did I miss where you describe this "simple" solution? I don't mind paying if there's a good chance of success, but I'd like to know what it is.......

    ReplyDelete
  2. We need to spend more on sporting facilities and youth social clubs, open our schools earlier and into the evening, provide meals, creches - more focal points for the community (and it can't be done on the cheap - we need highly qualified staff).

    We need to engage the whole community and bring the together. We need to really get communities organised and this will mean devolving more political power down the local areas and getting teenagers involved in making decisions on how this is spent - we have really neglected all this in the past which, is why we have so many dissaffected bored youth making their own anti-social entertainment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. David Duff30/8/07 9:36 pm

    In 1960 the number of homicides in England and Wales was around 250, today it is around 750.

    Or to be slightly more precise, in 1960 the murder rate per 100k of population was .62 and in 2002 it was 2.03 - and that was on a hugely increased population so the dead are piled even higher!

    So, to return to your 'solution', do you think that there are more or less "sporting facilities and youth social clubs" today than in 1960?

    ReplyDelete
  4. The homicide rate in the UK is undoubtedly higher than 1960 (although significantly less than the growth in homicides in the same period in the US).

    I imagine that there were a similar number of youth/social clubs in the 1960s as today.

    What we did have in the 1960s of course is less inequality and also many more areas where youths could play sport. The massive growth in car traffic has undoubtedly reduced opportunities for children to play safely in their local areas. So we also need to address the detrimental effects on our society of car travel if we want to reduce the homicide rate.

    ReplyDelete
  5. David Duff2/9/07 8:16 pm

    "What we did have in the 1960s of course is less inequality and also many more areas where youths could play sport."

    No there wasn't, and I know because I lived through it. Today, virtually every town in the UK has a sports centre and that wasn't the case in 1960.

    "The massive growth in car traffic has undoubtedly reduced opportunities for children to play safely in their local areas."

    You are not seriously suggesting that because children can't kick a football in their streets that is the reason they go our and stab and kill other people!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am suggesting exactly that. 'The devil makes ill for idle hands'.

    I think it is really important that children have somewhere easily accessible to physically play out their frustrations.

    Of course it is not just down to cars, like I said, inequality is a big factor.

    There may be more sports centres, but a lot of kids cannot afford to go there or are not particularly welcome even if they can.

    I've heard it suggested that governments should subsidise sports centres - but better than this would be to close some roads to traffic.

    ReplyDelete