The complicated nature of statistics

Stephen Harper, June 2008It’s one thing that they, the criminals do not get it, but if you don’t mind me saying, another part of the problem for the past generation has been those, also a small part of our society, who are not criminals themselves, but who are always making excuses for them, and when they aren’t making excuses, they are denying that crime is even a problem: the ivory tower experts, the tut-tutting commentators, the out-of-touch politicians. “Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong,” they say. “Crime is not really a problem.” I don’t know how you say that. 

Rob Nicholson, July 2008“We don’t govern by statistics in our government.”

Rob Nicholson, July 2009“We don’t govern on the latest statistics.”

Rob Nicholson, September 2011“We’re not governing on the basis of the latest statistics.”

Vic Toews’ spokeswoman, yesterdayBut a spokeswoman for Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews disputed their claims, saying since the Conservatives took office, firearms-related homicides have decreased by 28%. “These statistics show that our government’s tough-on-crime approach is working,” Julie Carmichael said in an email.

The national homicide rate peaked in 1975 at 3.03 homicides per 100,000 people. It has gradually declined since then, first falling under 2.0 in 1997.

See previously: With feeling and With statistics