Monday, August 2, 2010

Andrei Countdown

We have a lot of homicides in this country.

Since the ascent of social liberalism the number of homicides has soared (now there's a surprise).

Fifty years ago murder was so uncommon that it was headline news when one occurred, now we have more murders most weekends than they had in a year back then.

We usually just casually glance at the reporting of such incidents and carry on.

But every so often a murder that does catch our attention comes along and the trial will be followed with lurid interest and in this modern age blog posts.

And I have a sneaking suspicion that just such a murder occurred over the weekend.

Only time will tell if this post is prescient.

6 comment(s):

leftrightout said...

andrei, what date do you use as the start point for "the ascent of liberalism"?

Melva said...

Here's the stats on that thanks to this article at the NZ Herald from last year.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10565563

Here is the annual murder rate (per million people) from 1926-2008.

1926-1970: 6
1985-1992: 21
1994-1998: 15
1999-2003: 14
2004-2008: 12

You'll notice that whilst the 2008 figure is twice that of 1926-1970, it's a whole lot less than 1985-1992. According to these figures it murders per capita have been in decline since the 85-92 period. The nostalgic NZ that so many long for and would like to see return would need a huge decrease in population for that return to occur. The increase in murders seems to be less about social liberalism and more about population increase.

That said, I haven't looked for last years figures yet or figures for the first half of this year.

One must wonder why the figure was so high from 85-92 considering we could probably argue that society is more socially liberal now than it was then... yet murders per capita now are down on that period.

-Frank

Andrei said...

I'd treat those numbers with suspicion Frank

Firstly there is the missing fifteen years between 1970 and 1985, quite crucial in making the case.

But more importantly why the unequal time periods after 1985.

8 years, then 5 then 4 , then 5.

You can hide a lot of statistical sins by doing this.

Maybe the best source of data would be the mortality statistics which record deaths through unlawful violence I think

ZenTiger said...

A mass murder is defined as the killing of 4 or more people in a single event.

Before 1990 there were only four mass murders, involving 20 victims in total. So, wars aside, 4 mass murders in 150 years.

Six mass murders, with a total of 43 victims, occurred between 1990 and 1997.

For example:

1990 - 13 deaths at Aramoana in November by one man. Does that count as 13 murders, or one murderous event, when considering changing times?

1994 - The Bain murders - again perhaps a single event with 5 victims (or 4 and shooter depending upon different theories)


I don't think there have been any since 1997, unless I'm forgetting something recent.

ZenTiger said...

Oh, so I'm saying that to explain the "blip" in murders in the 1990's - if mass murders (as sick as they are) are considered as single events, then it may well be Andrei's supposition about increasingly violent times is upon us, and has been building since the children of the 60's and younger have inherited the changing moral landscape.

Melva said...

Andrei,

I think the gap between 70 and 85 is there because the article mentions where the high point occured so simply jumps to that. The difference in periods represented would be because the years in those periods were probably all the same - 21 murders per million people in each year from 85-92; 12 in each year from 2004-2008 etc. It makes perfect sense :) I would love to have a look at the stats you mention to get a better analysis though - got any links?

Zen - great point. It would be interesting to see the stats per capita when including and not including mass murder events.

You're good with the stats - do you have any links to more developed stats around this issue?

It's an interesting one. I wouldn't deny that there has been an increase in murders but I'm not sure it's the flood due to liberalism that seems to be being assumed here - most of the increase we would be feeling is upon us would be due to population increase. In 1950 our population was 1,927,700. We are more than double that now - hence one can assume at least double the reported murders - add to that the fact that we had double the murders per million people in 2008 over that of 1950 and it all starts to sound extremely miserable when following the news.

I wouldn't disagree that we've seen an increase in the last 50 years but I'm not so sure I'd so easily link it to social liberalism nor would I say that the number has soared - though it could seem that way if we don't take into account population increase. 12 murders per million people, as tragic as it is, isn't many.

If you look at this list you'll notice we're well down on other countries - some above us are more socially liberal and some above us are clearly more socially conservative by far http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita

-Frank

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