Colin's Journal

Colin's Journal: A place for thoughts about politics, software, and daily life.

December 2nd, 2002

British Crime rates

Browsing through weblogs I came across a short posting on Instapundit regarding gun control and crime levels in the UK. Arguments over the quality of the survey withstanding I think there’s two major points here.

Firstly I agree 100% that the police telling people to avoid becoming victims of crime by changing their behaviour is an un-helpful response. There are two problems doing this:

  • It breeds fear. Just because there is a higher chance in London of having your mobile stolen doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. In fact most of the time you can carry on using it in the same way that you do elsewhere, not be worrying about being mugged, and live a happier life because of it.
  • It stops the problem being tackled. The correct response to a large increase in thefts of mobile phones is to increase the penalties of doing so, not to try and avoid the crime happening by hiding mobile phones away. If you do hide your phone away to stop people stealing it then you are automatically making yourself a victim of fear, and because fear is not recorded in crime statistics, it looks like the problem is being ‘solved’. Deciding on a personal level that you want to hide your phone away is one thing, but pretending that it’s a valid approach to fighting crime is scary.

On the other point raised in the post though I have to disagree. Regardless of your intellectual views on rights to gun ownership I find the following sentiment to be equivalent to hiding away your mobile phone: “Gun control is bad in itself, but it can only exist in a setting in which the right to defend oneself against aggression has already been devalued in a way that makes crime much more rewarding, and hence much more common.”

To me the concept that law and order have broken down to the degree that you must go about protecting yourself against crime using firearms is an admission of defeat. What is the difference between living in fear – changing your behaviour by hiding your mobile away – and having to learn to use and own a firearm?

Comments are closed.

Copyright 2015 Colin Stewart

Email: colin at