No, Trump, British Crime isn’t going up because of Muslims

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Hate crimes are up 30% in the UK over the previous year, rising from 62,518 reported offenses in 2015-16 (the year ends in March). The following year, 2016-17, that number rose to 80,393. Brexit and Islamophobic reactions against extremist terrorism are thought to explain the increase.

At the same time, violent crime is up by 13% in the UK this past year. Why that should be is unclear, since crime had been falling during the previous decades. Some of the increase, however, is simply greater willingness to report such crimes and better police record-keeping. Violent crimes tracked included knife crime, sexual offenses and violence against the person.

The murder rate was up 8% to 629 deaths, and the official report excluded the 35 killed in terrorism in Manchester and London.

On the other hand, the increase of violent crimes apart from murder could be an optical illusion. The BBC says, “The separate Crime Survey of England and Wales, which estimates offences including those that are not reported to police, suggests that 2016 crime levels were broadly stable with 2015.” That is, more violent crimes may be being reported than in the past. You have to wonder whether social media and ubiquitous closed circuit tv on Britain’s streets are implicated in the rise of victims reporting crimes to police. Since we’re now all under surveillance and Facebook and Twitter friends know when something awful happened to us, we may as well tell the police, too.

But here’s the real kicker. The BBC points out, “about two in every 100 adults had been victims of violent crime last year, compared with a peak in 1995 of five in every 100 adults.” .

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h/t Great Britain Office for National Statistics

That is, there has been a profound reduction in the percentage of Britons affected by violent crime over the past twenty years. At the same time, millions of immigrants have come in, including Muslims (the Muslim population in Britain has doubled over this period). So we can only conclude that high immigration rates, which began after 1995, go along with a reduction in the proportion of the population affected by violent crime.


h/t BBC

Predictably, Trump managed falsely to blame the increases on Britain’s small Muslim population, which is 4.3 percent of the population of 65 million.

This sort of conspiracy theory is extremely dangerous, and is the sort of thing that led to the Nazi genocide of German Jews. As it is, Trump is feeding into the trend toward increased hate crimes against minorities in the UK with which I began this essay.

The slight increase in violent crime, after two decades of steep decline, is completely unrelated to British Muslims.

Violence is connected to poverty, but it is as connected to white Christian poverty as to any other kind. A study that looked at the social class of perpetrators and victims, according to the Guardian, has been conducted on a scientific basis:

“A study titled Young People and Street Crime, commissioned by the Youth Justice Board across 32 London boroughs, illustrated that when other relevant social and economic factors were taken into account, race and ethnicity had no significance at all. Crime is more prevalent in poor areas, and since black people are disproportionately poor, they are disproportionately affected – as perpetrators and victims. It’s class – not race or culture – that is the defining issue. “When we took everything else into account, ethnicity dropped out of the model altogether,” says Marian Fitzgerald, a visiting professor of criminology at the University of Kent.”

The problem of knife violence is disproportionately a problem of young men. But you cannot blame the younger generation, as the Guardian says, “the number of young people entering the criminal justice system for the first time nationwide is at the lowest rate for a decade.” Alcohol and drug use among young people in Britain have plummeted.

Trump wasn’t nearly as upset about the 59 people a right wing white guy gunned down in Las Vegas as about this small statistical fluctuation in another country. Nor has he tweeted about white supremacist violence against Muslims in Britain and France. He isn’t interested in reality, just in scapegoating those he’s already decided to hate, or those he thinks his constituency hates. Fascism.

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12 Responses

  1. Such statistics can be found all over the Western world. It is possible to relate it to poverty but behind that lie grotesque inequalities totally devoid of compassion. The exercise of compassion is a more than moral obligation in many religions where it’s a path to salvation, pursued or not under an all seeing eye. The usurpation of compassion by the state and its conversion into law and bureaucratic administration under the guise of equality is a source of much social distress and disorder. At a deeper level this may be one reason the West is so antipathetic to Islam. It is no solution, as one sees with Trump, but anti-establishment sentiment is virulent. In fact another billionaire with a populist message, Andrej Babis, has just been elected to lead Czechoslovakia. These responses are not ‘pro’ anything, the are determinedly ‘anti’. We appear, alas, to have created a sick world, and many things we bemoan are its symptoms.

  2. Juan, please, Herr Reichspräsident Strumpf has a good narrative going; and it’s not your place (or anybody else’s) to insert facts into the mix.

    His idée fixe fear and loathing of Muslims in the large is baffling given his willingness to do business with corrupt Muslims wherever they can assist his business aims.

  3. Trump should mind his own business. This man wasn’t elected by the Electoral College Vote to run the UK. Also I might add that Trump’s criticism of the UK crime events is dis ingenious at best, due to he’s obstructing the view of his own performance by pointing to the few flaws he can conjure up about other countries. When they do bad, Trump thinks he does good by tweeting his disapproval, and of course he thinks his comments make him look superior.

    I also think it’s a low blow dig at the real power, ‘the City of London’. Trump apparently, is one of those who likes sticking it to the boss. And, someone please tell me, is the Queen avoiding President Orange, by her not extending her invitation to receive Trump’s presence? Better said, if you were the Queen would you which to receive him?

    Just plain bazaar, is what this all is. Save yourself, because no one else will. Have a nice Sunday people. Joe

    • It wouldn’t be the Queen’s decision. May is justifiably nervous of the massive demonstrations his visit will provoke and what might happen as he is riding down over half a mile of the Mall in a carriage

      • Thank you Nicholas, you answered my question, and seriously dude you taught me something new today. I also like reading your comments, and as of now I can’t think of when I didn’t agree with much of what you comment on. Thank you again Nicholas. Joe

  4. You’re right to question the methodology as well as the interpretation.

    But what’s perhaps more important to grapple with is that it is the management of perceptions that really matters. So, we have the Trump v. Cole narratives competing.

    At this point the issue becomes a psychological one: the appeal of the simplistic and self-serving v. critically honest. The former becomes stronger as complexity increases and the frustrations of reaching critical closer increase.

    What this means is that to have a meaningful impact on those who cannot handle ambiguity you must simplify and provide closer with declaratives. Save the Truth for those willing and able to engage it.

    Successful participatory Democracy, with the masses empowered by technology, is hopeless.

    Training, as students receive in schools of business and engineering, shouldn’t be confused with a critical education based on self-awareness. The fact is, in my experience, most people don’t have the mental wiring necessary for the latter, intelligence aside.

    Entonces, the current paradigm of democracy needs to be redefined. Otherwise this society is on a collision course with negative time and space.

  5. My undocumented theory is that Trump is trying to bring his base to a boil in anticipation of Mueller bringing the hammer down with the Russia investigation. Per my theory, Trump wants millions of raging mad, 2nd Amendment, fellow travelers guarding his back when that happens. Just a theory.

    Of course he already has AM talk radio and FUX (spelling??) News ready to help.

    • Hopefully, your undocumented theory is not President Two-Scoops fantasy.

      But you are correct about FAUXNews and addicted, toxic-radio loser personalities.

  6. “See, Their Kind are violent by nature. Our Kind are only using violence in self-defense. When Their Kind submit to our superiority, things will be wonderful again.”
    -The Gospel According to the NRA, the UKIP, the BJP, etc., etc.

  7. Here’s a factoid for Mr. Trump:

    For the same period, the 629 homicides in England and Wales (population 53 million) are BELOW the toll of 758 in Chicago, population 2.7 million.

    That’s almost the same number for both places but Chicago is 20 times smaller than England and Wales.

    I’ll take my chances on a dark street in Liverpool before risking my life in Chicago.

    • This is certainly true in the sense that he has no interest in constraining his fabulations to reality. But one might wonder if facts are indeed relevant, but in a perverse sense: it may actually be important to him that almost everything he says is false, even obviously so.

      I see two benefits.

      (1) Blatant falsehood greatly lengthens the front page time of any particular assertion, as it is stated, then scrutinized, then doubled-down on, and so on till the next.

      (2) Because of this extended sequence, his underlings are compelled to back him up. This ties them more closely to him, as they have publicly debased themselves and thereby reduced themselves to subservience. And it makes them expendable, as they have shown themselves to be trash, in anticipation of the inevitable downgrading or firing.

      Remember he’s been doing this (successfully!) for a long time — it’s a highly polished, automated routine.

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