Perception isn’t the same as reality. Americans often perceive, for instance, that crime is increasing. But the truth is that crime has been on the decline for decades.
Can’t say that about crime in Great Britain, though. Crime rates there are up. According to a recent report, “Robbery is now 1.4 times more common in the UK than on the other side of the Atlantic, while assaults are 2.3 times more likely.” And though the U.S. still leads in murder, the situation is getting worse, not better, in Britain: “The murder rate has risen by 26 per cent in London and 85 per cent in Northumbria.” Yikes.
The report’s authors attribute the cause for this rise in crime to “the leniency of police towards suspects and the reluctance of the legal system to convict criminals and jail them. . . .” A government spokesperson, blaming previous administrations, insists that the “risks of being caught have been declining.”
This analysis sounds reasonable. And yet, my perception — based on what I read, that’s all — is that another set of factors has almost certainly contributed to England’s crime jump. While in America it is becoming easier to own, carry and conceal personal weaponry, it has become much more difficult in Great Britain. Even knives and hunting rifles are heavily regulated, and sidearms are pretty much prohibited. (In the past I’ve related some of the stories.)
With diminished capacity to defend themselves, peaceful Brits become easy targets for those who would abuse them.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.