The final crime figures for 2008 are out now, which allows us to complete our graph for the year and show a continuing decline in the London murder rate starting in early 2005.

homicide-00-08

The total for the month of December was 8, which is historically tiny.  However, you may remember this comment on last month’s statistics from ‘Prof Plod’:

According to this webiste: http://www.met.police.uk/crimestatistics/index.htm
which provides a breakdown of the 12 homocides in November by borough, there were no murders in Brent during November.
But what about this one: http://cms.met.police.uk/news/appeals/man_sought_for_questioning_in_connection_with_wembley_murder

shome mishtake shurely

Well quite.  I said at the time that if this murder in Brent in late November wasn’t in December’s figures questions would have to be asked.  Well, it isn’t (there have been no murders in the figures for Brent since the murder happened) – therefore we have questions to ask.  Being a single borough, we can probably match reported murders to statistics without too much difficulty, so would anyone like to do some Googling and try and find matches for the following month’s figures:

  • January – 1
  • February – 0
  • March – 2
  • April – 2
  • May – 1
  • June – 1
  • July – 0
  • August – 0
  • September – 1
  • October – 1
  • November – 0
  • December – 0

Now, that’s 9 in total, while the website reports 8 for the year.  Moreover, the running total I’ve been keeping over the year often differs from the counts in the individual spreadsheets for each month (non-trivially – 5 fewer in May, 4 more in September, 6 more overall).

Given that, it’s pretty clear that we have to go back and ask whether the whole business of publishing crime statistics has a solid foundation – my assumption that they’d at least get the murders right is looking a bit shaky.

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2 Responses to Murder 2008

  1. Daphne says:

    Murder stats are very difficult to find as I have found in the past. Questions to our Borough police statistician produced an incomprehensible police reply. I wonder if a statistical murder only exists once the coroner has decided it is a murder, which takes some time. It may be inserted in the correct month for the event but some months later. The odd thing was at that time that murder statistics appeared for the Borough but vanished from the ward figures. We had a surge which I suspected was the 7/7 victims but not actually a close match to the reported figures. Hence my attempt to find an answer.

  2. Tom says:

    Good points all round. It’s actually homicide rather than murder, which is usually fairly evident at the inquest, which of course may not be immediate.

    If that’s the case, the monthly figures may vary from newspaper reports, but the overall average and trend should be accurate, although out by a few months.

    It should be possible to find all homicides for an area in local press though.

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