Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Stockwell Day, crime rates and the census

Stockwell Day and John Baird: two of the sharpest tools in the shed, I'm sure...
Okay, everyone and their dog is writing about the census kerfuffle. Fair enough. What can I add? Not much, probably, but I'd like to focus on our man in Ottawa, Stockwell Day.

Here's a bit from a CBC story today (try to follow the logic):
Day said the government has received indications that more and more people are not reporting crimes committed against them.
But then his colleague cited census data from 2004 to back up his ridiculous claim:
In a statement to CBC News on Tuesday afternoon, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson's office cited Statistics Canada's report of its last general social survey conducted in 2004, which found an estimated 34 per cent of Canadians who are victims of crime still aren't reporting the crime to police.

The statement said Day was "correct in his assertion that many crimes go unreported in Canada" and "[t]he amount of unreported victimization can be substantial."
What? So our buddy Stock says they have new information, but it's actually from 2004? Seems odd. Wait there's more:
He also questioned the value of information gathered by the census, suggesting data older than a year is "untenable in today's information age."
and then he says that information isn't reliable anyway? So was he basing anything on anything? Or was he just trying to scare us and move the Harper tough-on-crime agenda along...


StatsCan is having none of it (from a Vancouver Sun story):
But Statistics Canada quickly shot down Day's assumption, saying that this data [survey data on unreported crime] cannot be compared to police-reported crime statistics, since it only surveyed eight types of crimes as opposed to the hundreds of crimes investigated by police.
And here is some video from the press conference. He really looks like he struggles with "facts" and "ideas" and "numbers":

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