A Liddle bit more digging

After digging and digging himself further into a hole earlier in the year, Rod Liddle has returned to the subject of his quickly blarted out racist blog post about black people and violent crime, claiming to have been vindicated by the Telegraph. Hurrah for him! Vindication!

Or is it?

It seems that Liddle was right to include a question mark in the headline to 'A vindication?' because the Telegraph story he links to really isn't one - but before I go into that, there are a couple of points worth going over.

Why using figures for people 'proceeded against' to work out how many crimes are actually committed is a bad idea

Taking the total number of crimes that have someone proceeded against for and working out how many of them involve a black suspect is a bad way to work out whether black people commit most crime. It would take too long to go into why in detail (I've been meaning to do a separate post on this for ages), but here are a few quick reasons why:

More crimes are reported than have people proceeded against for, and more still go unreported. We have absolutely no idea who committed the vast majority of crimes.

All we know is how many crimes have black people been proceeded against for, which is not the same as knowing how many black people were proceeded against. Multiple crimes by one suspect count multiple times in the figures.

Someone who has been proceeded against for a crime hasn't necessarily actually committed it. How many of these suspects were actually acquitted?

Since black people are targeted by police in the London area - both by being more likely to be stopped and searched and by specific police initiatives aimed at the black community like Operation Trident - then of course more black people are going to end up as suspects for crimes. Remember, we have absolutely no idea who commits the vast majority of crimes. Self reporting surveys suggest that black people are less likely to have committed a crime.

The Telegraph figures

The Telegraph includes its figures in 'Violent inner-city crime, the figures, and a question of race' and 'Police statistics shed fresh light on link between crime and race'.

The numbers are actually pretty sketchy, and only cover the crimes that have men as suspects. They don't show the proportion of total crimes with someone proceeded against, so aren't very useful for finding out if young black men commit the vast majority of certain crimes. The paper says that men account for around 90% of these crimes, so the missing 10% is relevant when you're talking about figures that hover around the 50% mark.

The paper includes 'street crimes', which is not an official Metropolitan Police category as far as I know. I've made one or two FoI requests to get these sorts of figures myself, and there's never a stat for 'street crimes'. In fact, I abandoned my last request after getting frustrated with how I could define 'street crime'.

The Telegraph says:
Street crimes include muggings, assault with intent to rob and snatching property.
Whether the paper came up with these groupings itself or with the help of the Met is unclear, as is whether any more crimes are included. But it's interesting that 'street crime' is defined here by crimes that black people are stereotypically associated with and are perhaps commonly 'proceeded against' for, and other types of street crime seem to be excluded. Where's the football violence? Where are the pub fights? Where's the 'taking and driving away'? Where's the drunk and disorderly? Where's the vandalism? Where's the bicycle theft? It's also worth pointing out that 'mugging' is not an official category of crime.

Had the paper said, "Street crimes include all the crimes we commonly associate with black people rather than all actual crimes that are committed in the street," it wouldn't have been quite so impressive. It would be really nice to know if there are any other offences in the Telegraph's 'street crimes' category.

Letting us know all the crimes would also be useful to give us an idea of how reliable an impression that street crime figure creates. The paper only shows us two crime categories where black men make up more than 50% of men accused (gun crime and robbery). It's possible that these two categories skew the results for total 'street crimes', which might include a bunch of crimes that all have black men accused for under 50% of - except these two categories - and give a misleading final impression.

What does this mean for Liddle's defence

Not much. Remember that Liddle's claim was that young black men are responsible for the vast majority of certain types of crime. The Telegraph figures do not break down into age groups. Figures Liddle previously claimed proved that young black men were proceeded agains for 55% of knife crimes actually showed that young plack people were involved in 17% once you took the total number of knife offences with someone proceeded against and worked out how many involved black people under 18 (which is the age group Liddle was using to get his 55% in the first place).

Liddle now has a gun crime figure to add to robbery that he will probably say supports his initial claim, but that's all. Even so, these figures don't really prove what he said. Adding an extra 10% to the total to get a better idea of the actual figure would show that black men are proceeded against in 53% of robberies and 60% of gun crimes that have someone proceeded against for. Separating out the young men would take that even lower.

But - looking at the number of crimes with someone proceeded against is a rubbish way to go about proving his point anyway. His best support is really, really weak.

There are a couple of points about his new defence that are worth looking at.

In his blog post about the figures, Liddle claims:
Well, the figures for knife crime (not quoted by the Telegraph) are 49 per cent, which is not quite a majority to be sure.
This is a strange climbdown from his previous figure of 55%. The Telegraph does include a figure for knife crime in the second article - 46% - so Lord knows where Liddle gets his figure. Perhaps it's from a total not broken down by gender.

He also claims:
On sexual crimes I meant gang rape – which was one of the specific crimes which motivated me to write that particular blog, and which would have been understood as such by anyone reading the original blog.
This is just bullshit. 'Gang rape' does not mean 'crimes of sexual violence'. His claim that anyone would know one means the other is nothing more than made up, arse covering rubbish of the weakest kind. I read his original piece and had no idea 'crimes of sexual violence' meant only one pretty rare subcategory of that. Because it didn't. The original case Liddle was talking about did not involve gang rape.

He should really stop digging.

Actually, it seems he might have. He promises in this post that
I’ll be writing more about this later in the week, when I’ve tied down a few more details about the original complaint...
But he didn't. Perhaps wisely.


Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

That man is a monstrous nob, just awful ,feeding the racist trolls from his lofty perch.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

I would tell you to look at the comments below this latest post, but I fear you'd sick up a bit in your mouth. There's one pointing out that black people are too cowardly to have fist fights. That's why they have knives you know.

Liddle answers his critics, but not silly racists like that one.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

That is his greatest crime, the man is not an idiot but he gives credence to racist myths that feed directly into white's perceptions of blacks and racist thinking.

Vile stuff.