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May 15, 2018

Thoughtful BBC series of articles on "Criminal myths: Misconceptions about criminals and crime"

I just came across this series of special articles via BBC Future under the headine "Criminal Myths."  Here is how this introductory piece sets up what follows:

In both the UK and the US violent crime has recently been rising, records show. There are now also record numbers of individuals behind bars around the world, about 10.35 million, a figure that has increased by 20% in under two decades.  The highest number of these are in the United States, where those convicted are serving increasingly long sentences.

Among the prison population, 70,000 are women and girls, a figure that has been rising higher than for males.  A high proportion of women behind bars have mental health problems and have been victims of abuse.

Despite these rises, we are not living in the most violent era of history (in 1991 the violent crime figures in the US were about double those of today).  While in the UK, although police figures indicate that crime is rising, a national crime survey found that most crimes "either fell or were at a similar level".

Meanwhile in the Netherlands, prisons are closing due to a lack of inmates to fill cells, as our reporter discovered on a visit to a Dutch jail, though this does not necessarily mean that crime is dramatically falling. These examples show that statistics can be confusing, and there is often more going on than the numbers suggest, such as falling police officers, longer jail terms, to a rise in community sentencing.

That's why we are taking a look at some of these issues, to tackle the misconceptions about criminals and the factors that shape crime.

Here are the full headline of some of the articles in this series:

May 15, 2018 at 12:47 PM | Permalink


A myth is a widely held false belief. It not clear that long sentences deter crime is a widely held belief. The article suggests that it is a minority view. It is more likely that people believe that incapacitation reduces crime. So does age.

Posted by: John Neff | May 16, 2018 10:03:04 AM

These nitwits did not even count all common law crimes. Never mind billions of internet crimes to which the criminal has modernized. They are not counting 3 million crimes according to one estimate.

I agree with John Neff. The rewards of crime are so great, they cannot be deterred. Only incapacitation is a mature and effective goal of the criminal law. Retribution is Biblical, and unlawful. Deterrence is a joke. Rehabilitation is rent seeking, tax thieving quackery. Restitution has never taken place, not even one.

The registered Democrats and left wing British people are just doing a sell job to generate worthless government make work jobs.

Posted by: David Behar | May 16, 2018 11:04:40 AM

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