21 July 2011

Crime—the declining problem

Down, down, down it goes. According to Stats Can's latest report, our crime rate has dropped again, down five per cent from 2009 to 2010, now in decline for 20 years. Particularly impressive was the 10 per cent drop in the murder rate, and perhaps even more telling about the dwindling urge to violence is the 13 per cent drop in the attempted murder rate. We are, it seems, increasingly becoming a peaceable kingdom.

This does not mean our Conservative government will back off on its law and order fixation. A major influence on crime rates is the age of the population. Our population became younger for a generation after the baby boom, and crime rates increased accordingly, now we are aging and crime rates decline accordingly. But older people worry more about crime, so it isn't surprising for concern about crime to increase as crime itself declines. The Conservatives may act on that concern and, in any case, they are conservatives and conservatives tend to cling instinctively to outdated ideas.

We may therefore be paying for law and order measures that will do nothing to make us safer but may at least make some among us feel safer. Somehow I don't think I'll find much consolation in that as I watch my tax dollars go down the drain.

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