Grayling depicts Wire fiction as fact

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling has compared Britain to The Wire, a television series thick with violent crime, vehicle jacking and vandalism, rooting his claims in a British Crime Survey report that shows violent crime down 48%, vehicle related theft down 66%, and vandalism down 20%, from 1995 to 2007/08.

Either he does not watch The Wire or he has not read the survey.

Grayling claims that since Labour came to power, “the level of violent crime in Britain has risen dramatically, by 70 per cent,” but the Survey shows crime to have gone down from a high point in 1995 to its lowest point since, in 2009. To quote directly from the Survey, ‘BCS crime is now at the lowest ever level since the first results in 1981.’

Grayling also contends that gun crime is up by more than half. He is right; it rose by 2% in the last year. What he neglects to mention is that this followed a 13% fall in the previous year; if seen it the context of the statistical trend, rather than in light of a fictional television programme, then a 2% rise shows a levelling out, not the “Horrendous drug world of The Wire,” which was how the Daily Telegraph reported the story.

Watch his interview on BBC News:

The Wire shows politicians cooking the books, a practice which contrasts with the preparation of the BCS. This is not Labour Party literature and uses statistics prepared under the National Statistics Code of Practice. It also includes the Police Recorded Crime, which are the statistics the police supply to the Home Office.

Grayling sounds quite content with the fictional, so he probably will not wish to see the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports for the real City of Baltimore last year: 624 violent crimes, 237 murders, 10 rapes and 182 robberies speak of a different world to the British Crime Survey.

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