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Murder capital: Tabloid rubbish!

Newspaper claims that Boston is England's murder capital have been dismissed as tabloid rubbish and irresponsible manipulation of statistics.

In an attempt to compare Boston with the likes of Greater Manchester, journalists magnified the town's actual crime figures to make comparisons based on hundreds of thousands of population.

This manipulation revealed Boston to have a higher "murderous" crime rate than anywhere else in the country. In fact, for the period under examination, the year ending last September, Boston actually had two murders compared to Greater Manchester's 38.

The similarly-small resident population of the City Of London, which had just one murder in the period, saw it ranked second after Boston, despite West Yorkshire having 27 murders, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire having ten murders each and Leicestershire having nine. Lincolnshire had eight.

Boston had ten incidents in total of murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to murder, but the Daily Mirror translated this as 15 "cases" per 100,000 residents while the Daily Mail put up a map highlighting Boston with a claimed 7.8 murders per 100,000 residents. Boston's population at the latest Census in 2011 was 64,600.

Cllr Stephen Woodliffe, Boston Borough Council's portfolio holder for community safety, said: "There are statistics, misinformation and Tabloid newspaper rubbish. According to some newspapers over the weekend, repeated by TV, radio and local newspapers, Boston was the murder capital of England and Wales for the year ending September, 2015.

"This conclusion has been arrived at by some thoroughly irresponsible manipulation of Office for National Statistics figures. In reality, Boston has had two murders. Of course, two murders is two too many, but Lincolnshire as a whole had eight, the lowest in the East Midlands region. That's what the ONS figures say. Greater Manchester had 38, West Yorkshire 27, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire both had ten. The City of London had one, but has been placed by some journalists, playing with the figures, as second to Boston:  but the actual figures reveal the truth that Boston is one of the safest places to live. Both the City of London and Boston have small resident populations in comparison with the large cities, which distort the figures. So, using irresponsible manipulation of the figures, one murder in a house in a tiny hamlet with a few residents would, proportioning it up to a population of 100,000, immediately catapult it to the top of the list.

"The Daily Mail has even produced a map showing Boston to have 7.8 murders per 100,000 residents; but Boston doesn't have 100,000 residents and hasn't had 7.8 murders. It is a shameful manipulation of information.

"Both I and Lincolnshire Police have agreed that any incidents of violence in Boston are of major concern because such incidents are rare here. Those violent incidents that have occurred have been domestic incidents that have occurred inside homes, and are not random attacks on people in the streets.  As has been reported in the local press, every incident has been investigated promptly by the Police and all those involved have either been dealt with by the courts, or are in custody awaiting trial.

"If newspaper editors carefully examine the ONS figures for themselves, they will see that Lincolnshire has much less crime than most other areas, and that Boston is a safe place to live and visit."

Cllr Peter Bedford, Leader of Boston Borough Council, said: "Public perception is often one of our biggest challenges, and it is not helped by interpretations of crime statistics which paint a picture which is not real. The table below shows more accurately that Lincolnshire is a lower table league side so far as crime is concerned.

"There is an issue in Boston of criminal activity, such as violence against the person, being fuelled by alcohol. Boston Borough Council was the very first authority in the country to introduce new legislation as soon as it was available to give the police additional powers to control consumption and possession of alcohol in the streets.

"We have one of the most advanced CCTV systems, used to assist the police, protect the public and help the work of those involved in the night time economy, such as Pub Watch.

"We have been at the forefront of work, supported and recognised by Government, to tackle rogue landlords and address concerns over poor living conditions in privately-rented property, working with Lincolnshire Police, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue and the Gangmasters' Licensing Authority."

This is where Lincolnshire sits in a league table of the 44 police authorities according to the latest Office for National Statistics figures:

Total recorded crime (excluding fraud)

Lincolnshire is 8th lowest out of 44 Police Authorities

Homicide (murder) 17th lowest
Violence against the person 4th lowest
Violence with injury  6th lowest
Violence without injury 4th lowest
Sexual offences  9th lowest
Robbery 9th lowest
Theft offences 13th lowest
Burglary 16th lowest
Domestic burglary  14th lowest
Non-domestic burglary  23rd lowest
Vehicle offences  11th lowest
Theft from the person  10th lowest
Bicycle theft 19th lowest
Shoplifting 18th lowest
All other theft offences 9th lowest
Criminal damage and arson 7th lowest
Drug offences 13th lowest
Possession of weapon offences 16th lowest
Public order offences 12th lowest
Miscellaneous crimes against society 9th lowest

Below is the table from the Office for National Statistics, using information supplied by the Home Office, detailing the actual number of murders (homicides) and other crimes committed in Lincolnshire compared with other police force areas in England and Wales for the year ending September, 2015.

Related documents

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[57kb] Crime figures Crime figures

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