Sometimes people claim that the statistics showing crime has soared in this country are misleading. They suggest – though rarely with any evidence in my experience – that crime is far more commonly reported now than in the past. But now and again, people speak from their memory and it cuts through all the statistical arguments. Tony Blair did it a few months ago when harking back to the days of his youth when people could leave their front doors open without fear of being burgled. Today, here is Bill Deedes, whose memory goes back right to the 1930s:
As we are reminded daily, we are a more violent country than we were. Why? Surely we ought to be more concerned about it. Ministers are happy for us to blame poverty, but that is nonsense. I was a newspaper’s crime correspondent in the 1930s, when poverty was incomparably harsher than today, and can make comparisons.
We have become so accustomed to reading of children being knifed for their mobile telephones, men robbed and then gratuitously stabbed to death, and grannies beaten over the head for a few pence, that we are no longer surprised by it. But if you have a memory as long as mine, you will know how alarmingly we have descended.
The full column is here.