18 Nov 2009

Police attempt to restore order - Why not use math?

Unfortunately it is today's world that sees the elderly continually getting the short end of the stick - be it from poor hospital treatment or nursing home fiasco - to plain and simple daylight robbery.

How such sick wankers can bring themselves to break into the homes of and rob the elderly, is beyond me. But it happens.

Understandably, the elderly generation aren't quite up to speed with modern day society. In the 1950s, Britain had virtually no murders. Rapists were few and far between and crime extended to missing church on Sundays.
How our dear Grandparents feel today, I don't know, but 'shocked, confused and victimised', is probably on or around the mark.

Since November 13th of this year, there have been coincidentally, 13 robberies (with or without assault) conducted on 'those of a pensionable age' in Northern Ireland (that is, 60 for women and 65 for men).

Now while this is appalling that such atrocity happens, the irrational reaction by the media creates a frenzy amongst the population, especially the elderly in this case, because unfortunately for us, newspapers don't print "No Pensioners Robbed Today" as their daily headlines.

So how do we stop our loved ones from fearing a knock on the door?
How can we reassure our parents and grandparents and great grandparents that robbery and assault is not imminent?
How do you tell a hysterical 90 year old woman that her dog won't be stolen and sold?

I'll tell you how;

Blind em with science.

Every day I check several news websites to keep me up to date with the latest media drivel. While I maintain a firm stance of "assume the opposite of whatever the papers say", to check the media daily at least gives you an idea of what the nation's flavour of the month is, be it paedophiles or rapists or many other blown-out-of-proportion topics.

Today was no exception as I browsed the Belfast Telegraph website to encounter an article about the elderly being robbed and the police trying to calm their nerves.

Of course the politicians came out of the woodwork for this one, demanding what gets them votes - that is, insisting police presence be stepped up as this is absolutely sure to deter any willing criminal (sarcasm).

I would like to also add that, get this (quote the BT article), "The man who heads up PSNI investigations into thefts from homes has insisted the number of burglaries in the province is down compared to five years ago."

That's right, you heard right - "The man". Now, excuse me for being nosey, but who the fuck is "The Man"?
Doesn't that strike anyone as being strange, that this supposed head of a department in our police service isn't a human with a name but is in fact a large, male chromosome that tries to delude the people whom which he serves - in that he may be right in saying that burglaries are down compared to 5 years ago, but what he didn't tell you is they are up almost 10% from last year.

Unless the police put 2 officers on every street in the whole country, there's no real way of decreasing these sorts of attacks.
So in that case, the very best we can do is try to get on with it and hope for the best.
In order to aid doing so, I took the liberty of crunching some numbers that you can show your Nana over tea next Sunday.

Please note there are no statistics offered by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) that reflect upon 'elderly crime', so I had to work with what I could find.

In order to work out the problem, I found out what NI's population is, what percentage of that population are pensioners/elderly (apparently these have 2 different meanings) and finally, how many robberies were conducted upon these pensioners/elderly in the last financial year (that is April 6th 08 to April 5th 09)

Let me explain first of all. What NISRA define as a pensioner is a woman who is aged over 60 or a man aged over 65. An 'elderly person' is somebody aged 85+. NISRA claims that 16.7% of our population of 1.775 million are people of pensionable age, and it would be sensible to assume this 16.7% also includes the categorised 'very elderly' at 85+.
Domestic Burglary stood at 7,351 over the last financial year.

Ok, so. What are the chances of grandma being robbed this week?

16.7% of 7,351 burglaries commited = how many crimes were on pensioners = 1,227
16.7% of 1.775M = population of elderly in NI = 296,425
Pensioner population / crimes on pensioner = Chances.

Drum roll please....

And the chances of your Granny being robbed is; 1 in 241 or 0.41%

It's amazing how the newspapers will run media frenzy and the police will go apeshit and the politicians will hold meeting after meeting, yet if they simply just looked at the figures they would come to realise that;

Firstly) - While the crime in question is despicable, it's really not that big a problem that it requires media attention or any sustained police action and;
Secondly) - The chances of it happening to somebody you know is so slim, it is almost de minimis (being a number so small in relative terms that it's basically zero or can safely be assumed to be zero)

So next time your Mum is running around the house worrying sick about her Mum, just tell her that she's probably more likely to be run over by a car and everything will be fine.

Then duck from the incoming dinner plate.

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