The Institute picks interesting stories and news items every week from the worlds of art, culture and social study and presents them in the blog. This week the stories have been chosen by Taina Cooke.
The mystery of Britain’s lowering crime rate
Crime experts across the country are facing an unexpected, but positive dilemma: why is crime in the UK falling? Ian Cobain reports about the phenomenon in last week’s Guardian and attempts to get to the bottom of it. Indeed, unlike the common man might think, statistics show that the total crime rate in the UK is lowering. The reported crime rate is currently lower than it has been for decades and it is not only the public that failed to see this coming, but it is the experts as well. No one really knows why crime in the UK seems to be falling, but a number of different theories exist.
One theory claims that crime is not actually disappearing, it is just changing its forms. The supporters of this theory argue that traditional crime surveys do not ask the right questions and hence fail to ignore the most modern-day, often Internet based, forms of crime. Another explanation could be found in the fall in drug use. According to this theory the crimes committed by heroin and crack cocaine users accounted for a fair share of the total crime rate from the 80s until mid-2000s. The main reason for the current trend of lowering crime is in fact that by 2014 these drug users have either quit or died. A more optimistic theory, however, states that the explanation can be found in a general cultural shift towards greater civility and caring. Combining reduced crime opportunities and better policing with taking good care of our fellows is the greatest explanatory factor to falling crime according to this viewpoint.
In any case, rather than wasting a lot of resources in trying to find out why crime is falling how about just enjoying the outcome? And even if crime is not falling, at least we have a pretty set of statistics for the government officials to frame and hang on their walls.
P.S. If you want to take a look at the exact amount of crimes taking place in different parts of the UK visit www.police.uk and look up the open data utilizing ‘crime map’
Saving tip of the week: ‘Ginger discount card’
A red-haired Scottish man realised you don’t need to be a pretty lady to get free drinks: ginger does the trick too! Well maybe not for free, but at a discounted price anyway. Richard Macrae was given a homemade ‘Ginger discount card’ for his 30th birthday by a friend as a joke. For everyone’s surprise it seemed to work too and Mr Macrae estimates he has saved about a couple of hundreds pounds over the last 4 years. “People have always given me stick for my hair colour but now I’m going out three nights a week and saving a fortune. The joke’s on them,” says Mr Macrae on The Scotsman’s interview. He says when presenting the card in bars, restaurants and shops surprisingly often retailers get the joke and agree to take some money off his purchases. He has even built up quite a reputation over the years and is now known as the ‘ginger discount guy’ in his hometown Aberdeen.
|Well isn’t that just a great example of creativity and initiative! Ginger discount card might not get a lot of use in Finland, but how about a ‘Too-shy-to-ask-for-discount’ discount card?|