A few months ago, I was driving round town and I heard a criminologist being interviewed on the ABC about gang violence (yes, I listen to 702, I never said I was cool). It was fascinating as he was talking about how there is a perception that gang violence is out of control now, certainly in ways it wasn't 50 or more years ago. What he said was that it actually hadn't risen that much. Rather that gang crime was reported more often in the press so it was generally perceived that it was a 'new crime wave' and that there was more fear in the public about gangs. He suggested that this may have racial undertones as well, that people were more fearful Vietnamese or Middle Eastern gangs and that many had thought of criminals such as Neddy Smith and his crew almost like larrikins or the underdog. A kind of bushranger hero worship thing. I arrived at my destination at that point so I never heard the end on the interview or even found out who the criminologist was.
During the night last night, I was feeding the boy when I read this article in The Sydney Morning Herald by Ross Gittins about how crime rates have fallen yet no-one in the media was reporting it. Crime does pay, it seems when we're talking about media sales.
Property crime rates have been falling significantly for the past the decade, but if you turn on Today, Tonight or A Current Affair or even the network news and you'd think there was someone lurking under every window waiting for the moment to pounce.
The article says that statistics from The Australian Institute of Criminology show:
Wow, fascinating stuff. Well, it is to me.
What do you think? Do you feel more vulnerable to crime than you did five or 10 years ago? Do you feel that the media scare mongers? I'd love to hear your thoughts.