Murder – A Depressing Subject

I’m feeling very right wing today.

The murder rate in London is, I’m told, higher than the murder rate in New York. Of course, that’s just according to some papers; other papers actually looked at the figures.

It seems that the two cities are very close in total murders, with New York actually two ahead. However, it also seems that this is just based on the first few months of this year. This is not, as anyone with half a brain will tell you, statistically significant. So, if you can’t draw any useful conclusions from the figures what can you do?

Well, I suspect you can draw some useful conclusions about journalists and their approach to statistics when pursuing a story.

You can probably also draw some conclusions about a rise in the London murder rate and the necessity to do something about it.

There are plenty of statistics out there if you want them. I could discuss them at length, but if I did I might send people to sleep.

However, you might like to think about a few facts.


London is quite a safe city.

New York, after much work from the police, is also quite a safe city.

Teenagers are not the only victims, so talk of better youth facilities, whilst well-meant, won’t solve the problem.There are no easy answers.

Everybody has a choice – they are not forced to pick up a gun or knife before they leave the house.

Punishment doesn’t reduce crime, though hanging clearly prevents re-offending. Assuming you hang the right people.

You can’t believe everything you read in the papers.

You definitely can’t believe anything in this blog, which is just the view of one grumpy old man with firm ideas about personal responsibility and the decline of modern society.

Every murder is a tragedy for someone and, if that person was going to grow up to cure cancer or stop Global Warming, it’s a tragedy for us all. Any man’s death diminishes me, as Donne says.

And finally, a quote from the Office of National Statistics. “Over one-third of adult male victims…were killed by a friend or acquaintance”.

I don’t know about you, but my definition of “friend” tends to exclude the likelihood of murder.


18 thoughts on “Murder – A Depressing Subject

  1. Cherryl

    Your post is very relevant and though provoking.

    The gang culture in London seems to have a lot to do with the youth related murders that appear to be spiralling out of control – the gangs are linked to estates and postcode areas. Short of dispersing estate residents far and wide (as opposed to being clustered together into areas of concentrated deprivation), I don’t see how this insane territorial mindset will end. Many young people are afraid to travel into certain areas of walk down particular streets because they’re crossing a postcode boundary – they fear for their lives. Of course I realise there is more alleged murder rates to than gangs, and not all murders are gang related.

    It’s a really sad disgrace to see lives lost so carelessly time after time to the point where people are no longer shocked by it.

    I also think the media is extremely powerful in both driving and reporting events. People react to what they hear in the news and form a band wagon of thoughts, opinions and actions depending on what they’ve heard or read. People are very easily manipulated and led by ‘popular belief’ and latest headlines, sadly.

    1. quercuscommunity

      I think you’re right about the media – it’s very easy to use it to reinforce what you already believe – which is one of the things I’ve tried to compensate for as I’ve grown older (and hopefully wiser).

      I sometimes wonder how much a constant schedule of violence on TV contributes to some of the things that happen.

      1. Cherryl

        I avoid reading the paper every morning as I don’t want to start each day with a head full of negativity – I think whatever people absorb regularly form the TV has an impact, consciously and subconsciously – it numbs our reactions to things like violence.

  2. jodierichelle

    “No justice, No peace” is how the bumper stickers say it. Until we have authorities who respect and represent us – all of us – we will have discontent.

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  4. tootlepedal

    “Teenagers are not the only victims, so talk of better youth facilities, whilst well-meant, won’t solve the problem.There are no easy answers.”

    There are some quite straightforward answers to the youth element of the crimes scene which have been tried and tested elsewhere. They aren’t easy because they require money, respect for poor people and competent authorities who trust evidence. None of these are easily available to those who think that spending money on poor people is a waste and spending time on them is a waste and talking to them is a waste as they don’t understand Latin.

    I am feeling quite left wing today.

    How’s the war on drugs going?

    1. quercuscommunity

      I’ve given the war on drugs considerable thought over the years.

      If they followed my plan of legalising drugs and criminalising the possession of books, teenage rebellion would manifest itself as an unhealthy addiction to reading and the drugs would be abandoned.

      Even if that didn’t work legalising them would reduce police costs, allow us to regulate quality and labelling, open the trade up to taxation (as long as the dealers didn’t incorporate themselves in Luxembourg) and boost interest in hydroponics.

      I have many stories about youth crime, respect, poverty and my inability to make a difference but this is already too long.

      Besides, I am feeling very cynical today.


  5. Laurie Graves

    Tough subject, and no one likes to hear such statistics about a major city in their country. Washington DC used to be considered the murder capital, but I don’t know if it still is. I do know that when my daughter lived there—about ten years ago—and I would go for a visit, I could feel the resentment just seething underneath the veneer of the city. There was a decided underclass. They knew it and didn’t like it. I certainly don’t have any answers, but in this country, anyway, income inequality brings big problems, including murder and suicide. Effective policing helps, but it doesn’t cure the problem of anger and violence, something our country has in spades.

    1. quercuscommunity

      I think you’ve put your finger on it with inequality being a major cause of problems – people always say that equality is at the bottom of happiness in Scandinavian countries.

  6. Jesska

    “I don’t know about you, but my definition of “friend” tends to exclude the likelihood of murder.”

    … mine does too 🙂


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