What’s the difference between Romanians and the rest of us? Not criminality

What is the difference between Romanians and the rest of us? Because there is very little evidence to suggest it's criminality.

What is the difference between Romanians and the rest of us? There’s very little evidence to suggest it’s criminality

When UKIP leader Nigel Farage was asked by LBC Host James O’Brien last week “What about if a group of German children [moved in next door]? What’s the difference [between them and Romanians]?”, he replied that “You know what the difference is”.

Farage has since apologised for making the comments, but what the UKIP leader was trying to imply was clear: you wouldn’t want any Romanians moving next door to you because they would likely be criminals (nudge nudge, wink wink).

Farage’s “you know what the difference is” brought to mind former Tory leader Michael Howard’s question “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?”, which the Conservative Party put on its billboards prior to the 2005 General Election.

As it turned out, most people weren’t thinking what Michael Howard was thinking, and Labour easily won that election with a majority of 66.

Immigration posterj

The fact that today the Tories are vociferously attacking UKIP is progress. But it’s worth remembering that just nine short years ago the Conservatives were running their own campaign based on demonising migrants and ‘cracking down’ on travellers – a precursor to UKIP’s 2014 campaign, you could argue.

But I digress. I want to look at is whether or not Farage is correct – that you should be worried if a group of Romanian men suddenly decides to move in next door. For while the  UKIP leader has since claimed that he “didn’t use the form of words in response that I would have liked to have used” in his original interview, he is sticking to the line that there is “too much criminality in London” because of the Romanians that live here.

In an add in the Telegraph yesterday, Farage made three claims:

92 per cent of all ATM crime in London is committed by Romanians

This claim is based on comments made by detective chief inspector Paul Barnard, who told an ITV documentary in 2012: “The fact is 92 per cent of all ATM fraud we see in this country is committed by Romanian nationals. Very, very tight communities, very tight gangs.”

Yet a Metropolitan Police Freedom of Information answer for 2012 found that only 5.8 per cent of people arrested for fraud in London were Romanian.

According to the Romanian ambassador to the UK, “in reality, for every 1,000 Romanians in London, only 13 were arrested, which – according to the figures presented by the Daily Mail (and cited by UKIP) – is half of the arrest rate for Britons”.

He added that According to a recent statement of the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Crime Unit in London, the latest annual figures show that, in 2012, the top five countries for fraudulent activity on UK issued cards were USA, France, Luxembourg, Italy and Ireland. Romanians are not mentioned on this top list”.

7 per cent of all crime across the 28 EU member states was caused by 240 Romanian gangs

According to Europol director Rob Wainwright, 240 organised crime groups from Romania account for 6.7 per cent of the total number of criminal networks currently active in Europe.

The difference between this and UKIP’s claim is that Wainwright is referring to the number of criminals – not the number of crimes committed. It’s simply false to claim that 7 per cent of all crime in the European Union is committed by Romanian gangs.

Correlation is obviously not causation, but there is also a negative correlation between property crime in London and the foreign share of the population. If migrants were the unruly criminals of UKIP’s imagination, you would at least expect there to have been a spike in property crime since 2004, when Britain opened its doors to most Eastern European citizens. There hasn’t been. In fact the opposite is true.

Property crime in England and Wales

28,000 Romanians were arrested in the last five years in the Metropolitan Police area alone

This figure refers to the number of arrests from 2008 to 2012, not the number of people arrested. And this matters – it’s likely that many of the recorded offenses have been committed by the same people.

So once again, UKIP are wrong to cite the figure in the way that they have – 28,000 Romanians haven’t been arrested in the Metropolitan area in the last five years. Arrests are also quite obviously not the same as convictions, as has been pointed out by the Romanian Ambassador to the UK, Dr Ion Jinga.

To sum up

Two out of the three UKIP claims are plainly false, while one is very questionable – there clearly are Romanian gangs that are carrying out ATM crime, but the figure of 92 per cent is based on the comments of one chief inspector during a television documentary.

So what is the supposed difference between Romanians and the rest of us that we “know”, as Farage put it? Because there’s very little evidence to suggest it’s criminality.

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20 Responses to “What’s the difference between Romanians and the rest of us? Not criminality”

  1. slamdac

    Not all fraud is ATM fraud. The Police Inspector stated that 92% of ATM fraud is carried out by Romanian Gangs. The FOI response referred to fraud in general

  2. Peem Birrell

    Not Liking Romanians is stupid, but it’s not racist. Not liking Roma on the other hand….

  3. PoundInYourPocket

    Liking, or not liking Romanians would be a personal preference or prejudice but promulgating lies to vilify an ethnic group is much more serious, surely that is plain racism.

  4. subtleknife666

    The idiot Farage is getting Romanians and the Roma people mixed up.

  5. Eddy Boyband

    A bit like calling all Englishman rabid nationalists.

  6. BB

    If you look at the C4 Fact Check which is the source for this, you’ll see that they conclude there is some truth in the claim that Romanians appear to be disproportionately involved in crime. And then the Left wonder why ordinary people are disgusted by the way the Establishment fiddles with the truth – and choose to vote for someone that isn’t afraid to say it how it is. The reality is that we should accept high value immigrants from wherever – those who make a net positive contribution to the UK – but we don’t need more low earners – there are plenty of unemployed Brits to fill those jobs, and we should force them to do so by making benefits less generous. Win-win all round.

  7. Leon Wolfeson

    So the 1% get to move country, the 99% don’t, and you’re attacking the British poor, demanding they take your workfare, then slashing the benefits.

    Win for your pocketbook.

  8. Leon Wolfeson

    …Is a major sign for the rise of racism. Attacks on travelling people is a warning for all minorities.

  9. Mike Stallard

    I am afraid this post shows the general ignorance of the British people. What an arrogant thing to say! But, please read on.
    Romania is a lovely country, I am quite sure. I haven’t met any Romanians yet, where I am part of a welcome centre run by the Church for immigrants to come and air their problems (And there are some really nasty problems too.)
    I am sure that the Romanians as a people are much the same at the Portuguese, the Lithuanians, the Latvians and the Russians who, yes, have their problems, but who are nice people who settle in very well (generally) and who I like as individuals even though they are a lot taller than me.
    The Roma are different.
    We have had the pleasure of just two Roma families. One was “Greek”, the other “Polish”. I will not say more than that they were not that popular. Actually, we are talking Borat.
    Scream at me if you must. It is the sober truth.
    Please do not mix up the Romanians with the Roma. Just don’t.

  10. PoundInYourPocket

    So because you met two Roma families that you disapproved of you are happy to sanction Roma targeted bigotry ? You then suggest that rather than being prejudiced against the Romanians we should instead target the Roma based on your sample of two. With your views you wouldn’t normally be allowed to work with vulnerable families. However I take it you work for an “unregulated” church where bigotry is acceptable. In the public sector you’d be sacked. Presumable the main “problem they air” is meeting a true english racist such as yourself.

  11. Sylvia

    If we can mention Romanians, we can mention Roma too. If we cannot however allow bigotry targeting Roma, how come we can allow bigotry targeting Romanians? Can somebody explain this to me? Because you either say 1000 Romanians were arrested, out of whom 500 were Roma or you say a number of 1000 citizens were arrested in London last week. I love Roma, I have friends that are part of this ethnic group and you cannot deny the fact that Romanians and Roma are different, in terms of culture, language, traditions. Romanian Roma are quite similar to Polish or Check Roma. They are travellers. They happen to be in UK now. I agree, you should not discriminate them in any way. What happened to the UK? So disappointing. I will never set foot in your country for fear not to meet someone like Nigel Farage, who managed to gather enough votes to REPRESENT your country in the European Parliament. Badly done, UK!

  12. Mike Stallard

    Jack Straw said quite a lot about the Roma.
    I have had one bad experience which it is very easy to shrug off if you haven’t had a bad experience yourself.
    I live in a place which is very popular with the travelling community and has been for years.
    The government has not got a clue what to do about it either. We had a really good Unit in the local secondary school for travellers and it was closed down because it was racist.
    I think we have some Roma on one of the sites now. They threw out so much rubbish by the side of the road that the whole road had to be closed off. And some of it was from their toilets, unprocessed – Yuk!
    And the site grew so large it was turning into a sort of favella. The Council brought in the bull dozers and now it is a shade of what it once was.
    Generally speaking local people usually get it right. They have accepted the Baltic people mainly. They dislike the drunk ones who wee in the streets and they like things to remain the same in a rapidly evolving world. But they are coming to terms with it.
    There is quite a lot of unusual crime starting up too. (Ciggies anyone?)

    It is so easy to call people names. Racism is a rather old name which has been abused for several decades now. I myself was turned down at a job interview in North London for asking for black coffee.
    What matters isn’t slagging people off but finding out the truth ruthlessly and then dealing with it. So I agree with Sylvia very much. What is needed is meeting people and becoming one of them. Then you are looking outward, not looking inward at some (very) human beings.

  13. Leon Wolfeson

    Don’t forget institutional bias on the part of local councils and the police either.

  14. Leon Wolfeson

    Well, no need to scream no, it’s a warning sign of hate against minorities rising when travelling peoples are targeted which can be dealt with perfectly calmly.

    That you think people from a given country have “problems” also says it all. That you’re sabotaging a worthy effort from the church…

  15. Mike Stallard

    Leon, this evening, I am giving up two hours of my retirement to go and teach English to anyone who turns up. I – wait for it! – actually like the immigrants I meet. No names, but I shall probably end up with two middle aged men, one of whom has been described as “kriminal” by the Russian interpreter, the other a very sad Lithuanian with a Sarmatian moustache who is missing his family. He is sleeping rough.
    The other night, we had a young mother with her baby in the room where we were meant to be. She was hugging the baby while the Direktorka went to her house to extract a little boy from his very violent, drunk father.
    I look forward to hearing your own experiences this week.

  16. Leon Wolfeson

    Well. Thanks for breaching the privacy of people there. That’s not on.

    And that you’re sabotaging all that might seem very fine to you, but…. (You like em, but they’re still not British, eh! Oh well, there *you* are). And no, I’m not interested in late protests by you, quite frankly.

  17. Mike Stallard

    Leon, good for you. I love the way you trail your coat! Have a lovely time counting out the papers and I hope your work gives you the satisfaction which I invariably feel in answering your comments.

  18. Leon Wolfeson

    “You’re not fooling anyone, you know”

  19. Mike Stallard

    And I cannot resist the inverted commas! I can just see you making them in the air.
    Shall we terminate this fascinating conversation now. I am sure we both have better things to do.

  20. Jesus Freak

    Michael Howard is actually Romanian.

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