Cost of Crime (1)

In most of my life, economics has been the main reason for not being able to do what I wanted to – from lounging on Caribbean beaches during an England Test tour to getting a European project to help some local kids off the ground.  In the smaller sense of business costing, costs have generally stopped me in my tracks.   Given money is really just plucked from thin air this seems odd.  When it finally dawned on me mos of this plucked cash goes into a bookmaking scam I gave up on economics.

It is estimated that a male high-rate chronic offender on average would impose an annual cost of £18 ($29) per U.K. citizen or a lifetime cost of £742 ($1,185) per U.K. citizen.  This from:

Money expressed like this makes no sense.  It costs each UK citizen £74/year to be in the EU – so four bastard chronic offenders cost each of us as much as EU membership.  Nigel Farrage probably thinks the EU does us more damage, but much as I want the smoking ban lifted, I don’t.  If we could cull only 100 of these shits we could pay our way in 24 varieties of EU – not everyone’s choice in using the money!  I bet it might be enough to get a university of the air off the ground.  I could write the business plan that killed this lot off in return for bounty equivalent to their known cost and build this modern university.  Fees would be about £2K a year for non-science graduate programmes offered to all on an international basis.  I like enterprise solutions to crime, and not much is more criminal than than sticking kids with $100K debts for the opportunity to regurgitate some limited textbook material into a degree certificate.  I’d offer local businesses the chance to host social, sports, art, theatre and discussion events for our students – based on student social networking and organisation.  Electronic library and resource board – all that’s missing is the overhead (60% of charges for a bit of toss-art in the vice chancellor’s lodging).  The International University of Killakrook?

I hope, in rough approximation, this gives you a real idea of the costs of crime.  No one in their right mind would want 24 EU memberships, but would anyone in their right mind really want 100,000 recidivist scrote preventing 1000 innovative start-up businesses every year?  For this is the status quo of our madness.

I see crime and its costs as much wider than this.  Just now I need to find someone with a subscription to the journal with the £18/year per person in the UK figure.  There are 65 million of us.  65,000,000 times £18 is more beer than I could drink in a lifetime.  The research is from Cambridge – maybe they can’t count?    I rarely see social research that can be taken at face value.  £1300 million a year to keep a scrote criminal?  I suspect it’s nearer £1 million – but in principle my figures above work – we just need to kill the crooks 130 times faster.

From the actual paper:

This crime cost is calculated using the following formula with the high-rate
chronic offender group as an example: [2.5 percent (prevalence of male highrate
chronic offenders)  31,118,895 (2011 U.K. male population) ¼
777,972 (total population of male high-rate chronic offenders)  £59,760 (average
cost of a male high-rate chronic offender) ¼ £46,491,606,720/62,698,362
(2011 U.K. total population) ¼ £742 per U.K. citizen]. The annual crime cost
is calculated by dividing the lifetime crime cost by the number of years of
offending data available in the study (41 years).

Sorry abut the loss in electronic translation.  You should be able to tell how easily I’m lead up the garden path reading academic stuff.  It rarely makes itself clear.  I thought these people (before I got the full paper) were saying each of us Brits were coughing up 18 quid for each of these high rate chronic scrotes a year.  In fact each of us is paying 18 quid for all three-quarters of a million of them.  So we pay 4 times more to be in the EU.

This is still a huge amount of money – roughly £1300 million.  Remember this is nowhere near the annual cost of crime in the UK.  The paper is quite interesting and has a lot of further references.

online 16 December 2011
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 2013 50: 53 originally published
Alex R. Piquero, Wesley G. Jennings and David Farrington
“The Monetary Costs of Crime to Middle Adulthood : Findings from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development”.

Aggregate total costs of crime (in the United States) have been estimated to be between $1 and $2 trillion (O’Brien 2010), which is likely an underestimate of the total costs because this includes only known crimes and excludes many whitecollar/corporate crimes whose costs are in the mid-billions to low trillions.

The language that had me confused was this:

It is estimated that a male high-rate chronic offender on average would impose an annual cost of £18 ($29) per U.K. citizen or a lifetime cost of £742 ($1,185) per U.K. citizen.

However, pushing on, it seems there are nearly 778 thousand (2.5% of the male population) of these high-rate chronic offenders amongst us at any time.  On self-reported crime they claim nearly 40 offences for one recorded.  I could not establish how many of them are in jail at any given time – but the proportion must be low when we only have 87,000 banged up from our total population.

Back of a fag packet style let’s say just short of 40,000 of them are banged up – that’s about a 20th of them or 5%.  If we really are cutting crime in this group and all the others, it seems we lack information on why.





Another financial wangle

Just a few minutes to spare before I go and kill my lawyer.  He is now claiming to have lost several forms I signed last week.  I’ll let him off if he buys lunch.  Hapless dork foisted on me for a probate transaction.  His general tack is to promise to sort things by next Monday.  This has now slipped to Tuesday.

Re-hypothecation is a word that Robert Peston will be wuckfitting your way soon.  What it means is pawning customers’ assets several times until no one knows where the original bauble or cash is.  The general rule is you can only do this to 140% of the original value, but in the City of London you can do it until the cows come home – and at this point someone turns up claiming the cows are theirs.  It’s all a bit like lending your lawn-mower to a nextdoor neighbour who rents it out to the rest of the street.  It has a long history going back to the times when goldsmiths lent money on gold you deposited with them for safe-keeping.

So watch out for comingled re-hypothecation and get ready to shout ‘Bingo’.  Whenever you hear nonsense like these terms you should ask ‘who pays the bill’?  Which is precisely the question we should ask about the City in general.

Our Human Zoo

I intend my novel to be wide ranging – this statement itself may put a publisher off!  I started out to write a cop story that introduced economic issues, maybe as a read for students.  I’ve given that up, consigning most going through my mind to this blog.  There are already books around with titles like ‘The best way to rob a bank: own your own’ and fantastic realities like there being one offshore financial institution for every 5000 New Zealanders.  For that matter there’s Germany, which does most economic stuff right, but still has broke banks and a decline in working and middle class earnings.

The world is organised by and for the rich and to make this tiny group richer – the rest get what ‘trickles down’ and we live in some terror notion we would do worse without them. I’m no democrat myself because democracies are so easily swayed by politicians already corrupt.  We are supposed to take austerity and yet they never offer to live in it themselves, rather like Scargill in the Miners’ Strike.

I live in a world in which, if I say ‘agriculture is only 4% of world GDP’ hardly anyone twigs, let alone groks what this means (little work is about our survival).  We’re on the verge of an economics that is scientific – this won’t come from existing economists or politicians.  It’s about how much of the land and other resources like air goes into producing our lives.  This is already measured and the news isn’t good.  Western lifestyles cannot be preserved if the rest of the world ‘catches up’ and the world is ‘full’.  Yet almost every politician has to promise ‘recovery’ based on more of what we are doing now.  A rich 1% own nearly everything that monetary value can be put on and are getting more and more of it – and presumably we have to keep on our charitable giving to this group (by the time you get to the top 20% there’s not much left over).  Under ‘trickle down’ we have to work more and more to produce a vast surplus.  It’s madness.

My choice is doing something a bit like Charlie Owen’s wonderful stories of madcap coppering so I get out of austerity, or trying to do something to penetrate the madness for a wider benefit.  Teaching once offered some of the latter, but is now an industry in the madness.  In part of my research I signed on at the local job centre – they were predictably useless and most of the ‘jobs’ weren’t real at all.  I applied for a few that would have fit in with my schedule (project management stuff) and discovered most, including one I was offered were ‘fictional’.  I saw none of the readily available, low skill jobs Gadget claims are there for the ‘evil poor’ – but this is ‘England’s Northwest’.  I went along to a ‘job preparation’ course and found it based on a lunatic book called ‘Chicken Soup For the Soul’ – it was like a scene from ‘League of Gentlemen’ with Pauline.  I did help get a bright woman into university instead of the junk she was being recommended – but there was sod all for even people with substantial engineering skills, let alone the willing unskilled.  In short, no help on offer.  Some of the job agencies I’ve used to get interim work have been as bad.  I came across the same problems as those more than 20 years ago, including the fear of many on benefits that jobs would not last long and they’d be in a worse situation reapplying (they are right).  I’d put my work and the books on a back-burner if I could do anything real to help.  I don’t – and much as I’d dig a hole and bury the kind of turds who caused so much trouble for me, lumping this ‘lumpen proletariat’ with most people in trouble at the bottom of our society is wrong.  This problem has been with us everywhere old industries close down for more than 40 years and is an older historical problem – there is nowhere to ‘upsticks’ to for most people.

Some of my worst fears about people and my own anti-democratic leanings have been confirmed in my venture into low-life.and accord with much Francis Bacon had to say on general public argument – it’s dumb and you’d better try hard not to let your own pretensions make you as stupid.  In science one finds most of what you learned at school is not basic, but rather a facile corruption strangely made more difficult than it should be. All kinds of previous work can be found and relied on – one not only gets to use wheels without inventing them, but actively learns to avoid doing what’s been done before, other than in learning techniques.

The ‘real world’ has none of what we rely on in science, though much that makes such claim.  Religious fables have been laid bare, but we have failed, so far, to demonstrate economics as religious, or to make people aware they base their thinking in Idols.  The fantastic story of economics is that we must organise so that the rich get nearly all the rewards.  This makes no sense to the scientist, but one knows the means of demonstration to others is lacking.  The truth is most people are too dumb or unskilled to understand – but try telling them that and you’ll just discover that what people hate most is a smartass.  Most people think I’m lying when I tell them about animals with a spare penis, and can’t tell I’m joking in a long story about low human sperm counts (true), masturbating monkeys and the Human Zoo (not true),links between masturbation and sperm count (true) and that as sperm counts are down all men are wankers (more or less true but the joke should kick in).. Desmond Morris claimed we live in a human zoo on the basis that monkeys, polar bears and elephants masturbate in zoos but not in the wild.  I would point to real mad bits of human history.  Wanking is a lot less dangerous than religions belief in human history or all kinds of things built on the toil of others.  Many human zoos have perished through ecocide, this one is in econocide.  There’s no telling you though.  Most of you don’t even manage a developed sense of humour.  Now, how do you teach real economics to people who mostly can’t get the jokes in South Park?  Did you know the Germans have a better sense of humour?  Or the Danes?  I’d bet not.

Face Of The End Of Policing As We’ve Known It?

Tom Winsor

This man will not be popular with police officers seeing numbers and resources cut.  The ‘plan’ is clearly to go further.  He has noted that all police pay contains an element of anti-social hours pay while most don’t work them.  I’ve long thought this pay should only go to those working the hours and in greater amounts.  This won’t happen – they’ll just chew out money from those not working the hours.

He’s against of officer class – yet we have ACPO?  He thinks vital lessons are learned as constable and sergeant, so there should be no direct officer entry.  Why not make the same true of the Army then?  Police have a meritocracy?  Not one I’ve noticed.  I’d say we need to recruit and keep good coppers close to the ground, not Peter-Principle them to bureaucratic office-incompetence.

Many jobs that people should hold a warrant card to do (in the sense of the discipline code) have little to do with Response jobs and there could clearly be direct entry to them.  It’s hard to see the ‘bouncers with warrant cards’ on booze-strip patrol needing to be other than part-time and with limited training either.

The complaints that evidence is ‘illiterate’ is bunkum – do we want our cops honest or like lawyers?  Does anyone know the relationship between honesty and skill with words?  Yet one could believe a decline in standards over 60 years because there has been a decline in the standards of our qualifications.  Modern graduates are hardly literate.

The full report is due in January next year.  The chance for meaningful reform will be lost – policing needs reshaping to modern democratic conditions and the basic uniform job needs to be one sought after, not one to escape from.  Much of the rest of police work, given so many end up not on the streets should be directly recruitable – it’s essentially bureaucratic, may require special technical skills not available in the uniform section, and right of passage into it from ‘plodding’ (the hardest jobs cops do) may simply leach the skills needed from this pool.  I’d contend this leaching has gone on to the detriment of coppering for 60 years,

I’d like to see coppering a twenty-year period with regulars supported by part-timers, and seen as the core activity.  Drawing all police jobs from this basic pool that is required to be fit and able bodied is to discriminate against the disabled – and worse against the wider pool of skills in the broad population.

This report, from the pinch-faced weasel, will just be about further cuts, with a little icing.  I’d guess we are paying many of our cops too much, and that this isn’t going to the ones doing the real work.  In the current economy, about to get much worse, we could probably cut salaries by 40% and still maintain the force – I say this because economics is shafted and we are back in 1920 when worse happened.  The chickens are coming home to roost.

Do we rally need to give career opportunities to the uniform preening ass-holes eating chocolate-dipped strawberries and sipping champagne at ACPO conferences – or get a service running with some solid, honest lads and lasses competent in what is actually (like most others) a limited job that demands character rather than skill in weasel words and arse-licking?  He ain’t asked these questions, isn’t Mr Weasel.

Cops I’ve taught as mature students hardly match the ‘think’ image associated with this reporting and when did we start thinking being good with paperwork such an important thing anyway?  It would be the last thing I looked for in a good copper.

Let down by creeps like this?

This old lag must have known plenty about the story being presented to us through the diversion of phone hacking and Dirty Digger reporters.  He was either part of the cover-up or incredibly stupid taking a £12K “back-hander to the rest of us” and continuing to swan about with Dirty Digger henchmen and hiring them at our expense.  In Merseyside, a couple of jacks lost their pensions doing the dirtywork of public slime like this to produce their lying statistics.  He was earning a quarter of a million a year and will have a very tidy pension.

An independent investigation should be looking to see if he can be arrested.  If his integrity stands after this, fair enough.  If it stands now, he should not have resigned.  I don’t associate integrity with taking what looks to most of us a £12K bung he had no need of on his mega-salary.. What chance we see him working for Murdoch when the dust dies down?  He denies any wrong-doing and this may be true (though we have no investigation on which to base this), but it looks as though plenty has been going on on his watch and if he had no part in it he also had no part in bringing it to light.  When ordinary people turn up in the middle of stuff, they are (rightly) suspected.  If he didn’t know what was going on he should have stayed to clean out the duffers below.  Now we can only suspect they may have had tales to tell about him.

And if those below him hid all this from him, what might they be hiding about terrorism and other serious cases.  This man should be looked at in terms of criminal prosecution. just as others lower in the food chain.  These are the people who unload pressures down the line with clown policies and procedures.  Appoint someone like Gadget who hates them.

“Romanian Criminality” and Magisterial Idiocy

Ambush Predator( is carrying a story that’s around on other blogs today.  It’s about an immigrant lad that a court won’t name because it’s not in the ‘public interest’.  The lad is Romanian, clearly recidivist and also living in a family given £420 a week in benefits – more than the brilliant immigrant family living next to me get net with both parents working.  It must be in everyone but this Romanian family’s interest that the court proceedings be published.

We have a lot of State-sponsored crime in the UK and this is clearly a case of its import.  There is no rational argument I can think up that justifies the decision of this Manchester court.  The one’s given by the court are fatuous, for reasons given in AP’s style.  The only viable start concerns whether open publicity would lead to ‘revenge or vigilante’ attacks on the boy and family.  I doubt this would put the chances up, as nearly all this stuff starts in gossip locally in any case.

Our courts are supposed to act in such a way as to make us feel justice is being done, partly so we won’t take our own actions.  This court had magistrates so far out of touch, they managed to make things worse in what they said to defend their judgement.  Naming the lad might affect ‘future rehabilitation should it be necessary’ – when rehabilitation is long overdue.

This lad probably needs to be taken away from this family as surely as Baby P – at least, this would be the case if we could be sure that ‘care’ works at all and could find the ‘money’ to do it.  He is very likely to continue his criminal career if this is not done, just as so many of our own kids.  Given the prospects of kids about to leave care, it looks as though the system fails even when we can use it.  They are bleak.

Whilst I’m sickened to think of the resources this immigrant family is using up, when we have our own young short of housing and life chances, the real issues are about our dud politics not even offering potential solutions, other than ‘education’ (of a kind most can’t benefit from and already corrupted by elite lines through it), dud public sector jobs or probably even worse ones in the private sector cavalry.

I live in Greater Manchester and job prospects here are bleak.  Quite how a family can be given £420 a week and probably housing for doing nothing (and no doubt a lot of negative) when most jobs here are minimum wage, I really don’t know, other than that the plot was lost long ago.  Why these recidivist thieves and worse are so easily harboured amongst decent people is another conundrum.  It all has a great deal to do with a lack of manufacturing jobs that do not require great skill – but for that matter we also seem to have failed to notice that the great industries in which so much skill was nurtured could not come back in that form.

25 adults you see walking in Greater Manchester are functionally innumerate and illiterate in every hundred.  Yet we also have the largest university population per capita in the UK.  It’s time we started to find out if we could improve the lot of this bottom 25% in our schools by sending them all to Public School – thinking I said, I know the practice is impossible.

My own belief is that thieves like this kid (and our own) should be in ‘disciplined work’ from 14.  I’m an educationalist who wants as many as possible to benefit (benefit I said, not ‘go’) from university – yet I’m as sure as I can be that keeping at least half of our kids in school after 14 is cruel.  I can lay out a detailed framework and cost it.  The point really is that our politics is so piss, nothing new has been put in front of us that I can remember since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 (MPs had a lot of self-interest in that one).

Learning Fear

The arguments in science usually produce effective theories and more work to be done in the direction of a research programme core.  In the process, we usually discover that our previous views were drongo of some sort.  Our best theories lag behind the evidence.  Physics, as it stands at the moment, is pretty sure our notions of ‘what is real’ focus on only 4% of ‘what is there’ – hardly a full deck.

As a kid, with my mate Frog, I watched the night sky.  He was into astronomy.  We knew from his dad that patient observations were necessary and heard great stories about Tycho Brahe.  I remember the silver nose.  We had a telescope (borrowed from his dad’s work), a red notebook, sandwiches, a flask and determination.  It was England’s Northwest, so our results were largely disappointment and friendship.  The heavens were grey and we got cold.  It was like waiting for a slip catch in cricket – all the concentration just for a tiny percentage moment.  One day, in an art class more boring than the last hour of any going-nowhere cricket game in the rain, Frog started jumping about in a eureka dance.    He generally reserved these for the times he emerged from the scorebox to celebrate a particularly vicious over from me, or inspire one if he thought I was slacking.

He’d painted Jupiter and a couple of its moons, low in the sky.  Several times, against a graph, showing it move across the heavens.  The red notebook was whipped out.  Our teacher, stirred from the depression of her recent failed affair with Dobba (he other art teacher), came to quell the fuss.  A bad decision, as every time she moved her gorgeous body, all the male students, including limp-wristed Chris, our token not-yet-gay, could not contain themselves.  Furore ensued.  Frog was explaining how he’d plotted his chart from the numbers in our booklet.  We found ourselves hugging.

Teacher could not understand.  She never did get why we didn’t give a flying fuck about delicate shades of poster paint.  She was threatening to send us to the headmaster for the cane.  She didn’t mean it, but we went anyway, plotting our next observations.  The Beak, a really decent cove, invited himself along.  Grey as the sky was that weekend night, our headmaster played his role in encouraging us to university to study science.  We thought Frog’s dad invited the art teacher out of hospitality and apology, until our wandering telescope found her with the head at the bottom of the long garden.  We had a joke about the moons of Venus for a long time afterwards.

Sometime after this, our headmaster allowed a few of us (with parental notes) to be excused religious education and formed a group doing general studies with him.  He was interesting, something we weren’t used to; yet the key thing was that he let us wander off together to report back in discussion.

My learning started in this.  Our society, of course, has time all wrong.  A few dominate our time through enforced work for their profit.  The ‘mechanisms’ of this involve classrooms, as surely as dumping kids in front of television or video games.  We fear free time, for the devil has work for idle hands to do.  This is because we live in drongo and our systems are built in its fear.  Rationality is all rationalisation of this.  What we are scared of.

Free-love style eduction is not what I’m on about.  There needs to be something that stops us doing what we want with art teachers.  Mine is not the villain of this piece, much as I would love to pin my lack of representation on someone!

Policing Beyond The Fairies

I stray over to The Thinking Policeman when he posts.  I’m usually late.  He posted a very interesting piece on ‘back room talk’ – readers of Goffman would be very familiar with the general gist.  Different stories being told by the same people in different contexts.  Most of us are at least aware of ‘talking behind people’s backs’, though many, despite  being active participants, don’t understand this is what we do as a rule.  Thinking describes goings on in an SMT situation I have been familiar with across organisations and the theories we use in trying to make sense of them.  The classic in my area is the difference between ‘espoused theories’ and ‘theories-in-use’ in the work of Argyris and Schon.  The chief constable ‘espouses’ by re-hashing ConDoomed rhetoric in terms of his force, and Thinking ‘wonders’ what any of it will mean in practice, generally aware this will not be the same thing.  The metaphors used are superb.

I’m busy doing other things at the moment, but would like to write a book that uses policing as a grand metaphor for what is going wrong in our society.  I generally want to support policing, and believe a good and honest police force may have a lot more to do with economic success and well-being than much written about in economics – though a strong common law is considered a vital part of any country’s ‘success’ in economics.  My current guess is that our cops are as out of control as the rest of our institutions, including the private sector.  I believe we can say ‘bureaucracy’ is the biggest culprit, but this is glib and more or less useless.  Most of us do not spend much time doing what is needed or worthwhile.  One could call this the Pareto Principle, but again what’s the point?  What we need is not labels, but ways to change.

My broad thesis for a long time has been, if you like, that ‘incompetence rules’.  The only way to deal with incompetence, personal or organisational, begins in being able to recognise and admit it.  These are skills we generally don’t have.  It may be so bad, that we only start to get to grips with incompetence in war, when we realise our lions are led by donkeys.  If I’m right, we need to look at our society in a very different way, including such matters as what our current education, recruitment, selection and training processes are really achieving.  Many of our ‘answers’ may be major parts of the problem.