Well, what do you know?

  fourm member 12:22 17 Jul 2013

After the comment, on another thread, that there were 'many cases' of prisoners absconding from open prisons I wondered how many people had seen this survey comparing what the public thinks with what is.

And what do you make of it?

  Chronos the 2nd 13:23 17 Jul 2013

Interesting, without going through them all I would like to comment on one or two.

2: Crime. A lot of crime probably towards the minor end of the spectrum is not now reported to the police as the chances of them actually being able to do anything or even being particularly interested in the crime are pretty small these days.

3 and 4: The government has waged a pretty successful propaganda campaign and have managed to convince a large majority of claimants are scrounging layabouts when a large potion of the benefit budget is paid to people who are working but on very low wages, and the companies paying these wages get away with it because they are fully aware that the government will pick up the slack.

6: Religion: I think we over estimate the number of Muslims as they seem to get an inordinate amount of publicity one way or another. We currently have Channel for running a TV spot called Ramadan Diaries and the BBC recently had a program about Muslims in professional football. The BBC did not reply to my question are other religions going to be featured.

Most of these I was sort of aware of.

But a very interesting find FM.

  Flak999 14:35 17 Jul 2013

Was it Mark Twain or Disraeli that said "There are lies, damned lies and statistics" ? Whoever it was, I think they meant that statistics in the hands of clever politicians can be made to prove an argument any way they want it!

As with all statistics that go against the majority viewpoint, I think it is the public's perception of a particular problem that make them think that the alternative is true.

For instance if your child has been mugged three times on their way home from school and had their mobile phone stolen, your perception of crime will be greater than the statistics say it is. So in a way the statistics are irrelevant, all you know is that your family has been the victim of crime on more than one occasion.

It's no good the government saying you are actually safer, because you don't feel safer.

It's all down to perception.

  fourm member 14:41 17 Jul 2013

Chronos the 2nd

On crime, figures these days come from the England & Wales Crimes Survey (used to be the British Crime Survey until someone pointed out it cover E & W only) not from the reported figures that are known to underestimate prevalence.

The crime survey asks people about actual experience of crimes whether reported or not rather than their beliefs about it.

  Forum Editor 14:55 17 Jul 2013

"It's all down to perception."

Because mostly, people form opinions about things from what they read and see in the media, and from what they hear at work, and in the pub. They don't read government statistics - or any other statistics for that matter.

Media reports tend to focus on the human angle; Old lady is attacked in her own home, and robbed of £20 which she was saving for Christmas is far more likely to hit the headlines than sheet metal supplier defrauds engineering company to the tune of £500,000

Normal citizens are worried about violent crime (including sexual attacks), breaking and entering, and car theft - that kind of thing - and that's what they read about in their papers.

  Chronos the 2nd 15:21 17 Jul 2013

The crime survey asks people about actual experience of crimes whether reported or not rather than their beliefs about it.

I don't dispute that but who do they actually survey? Do they get themselves round a run down council estate where I suspect most unreported crime occurs.

  fourm member 16:45 17 Jul 2013

'Do they get themselves round a run down council estate where I suspect most unreported crime occurs.'

Yes, they do. The survey takes a representative cross-section of households in England & Wales. It's not perfect because, of course, you have to be living in a household so it ignores the experience of marginalised people.

  spuds 17:24 17 Jul 2013

I am not saying this survey is right or wrong, because that would all depend on how the total outcome of the report was finalised, and for what purpose.

Many government departments have annual reports on all sorts of facts and figures, yet I recall one particular government funded Watchdog that had an annual report done by one survey company a few years ago. Then refused to accept the report, because it didn't provide the 'satisfactory status' the Watchdog wanted. Another company was brought in, at further public expense, and their report was published.

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