Are Scots less concerned about crime not just because there is less but also because they are learning not to trust media distortion?


Ipsos MORI’s recent poll pays little attention the Scottish data it contains and concentrates on an apparent panic in England and Wales. Their headline, with the above map, is:

‘Concern about crime reaches a seven-year high’

It’s not clear, from the report if the Scottish figure is higher than in previous years but it is significantly lower than in England and Wales. Indeed, the level of concern about crime is apparently twice as high in the north of England and approaching three times as high in London.

This is encouraging given that our perceptions of crime levels are mostly constructed for us by the media coverage we consume, and, in Scotland, we face daily and intense coverage of any violence that can be found, along with a prolonged campaign to undermine Police Scotland and to cast doubt on its competence. That Scots seem less anxious seems, to me, quite remarkable in the circumstances and a matter for some pride. The scale of the distortion, of the Police Scotland attacks and the failure to contextualise with comparative statistics, can be seen in these earlier reports:

As knife and gun crime rockets across England and Wales and falls in Scotland, Scotland has far more police officers per head of population

BBC News tries to spread knife crime crisis into Scotland to tell us: ‘You’re no different. Don’t get any ideas!’

Lib Dems, Tories and Labour take turns to help Scotsman, STV and BBC Scotland cast unjustified doubt on successes of Police Scotland, as crime plummets regardless

As crime falls, Scots feel safer than ever before

As hate crime falls in Scotland and soars elsewhere, STV and BBC Scotland report fake news of an increase

Scottish Muslim students far less likely to report abuse or crime?

Less homicide, less knife crime, less domestic violence, safer cities and now much lower alcohol problems: should Scotland’s old stereotypes be sent south?

Scotsman acts as Tory propaganda outlet in fake news about knife crime as statistics reveal dramatic fall in possession and use across Scotland

Better together? As crime falls in Scotland, English drug gangs invade Scotland. Build a wall?

I’ve always believed that one of the few demonstrable media effects is levels of anxiety in the general population, about crime, health, migration and other issues which are higher than that which the evidence supports, so once more, well done Scots!


11 thoughts on “Are Scots less concerned about crime not just because there is less but also because they are learning not to trust media distortion?

  1. William Henderson May 11, 2018 / 5:06 pm

    Thanks for all the good work you are doing on this stuff and nonsense.

    I don’t think I’m alone in looking on all “news” with a level of skepticism which would have been unthinkable not very long ago.

    As I’ve said before, the so-called journalists in the traditional media know well what they are doing but really, in the face of a more and more discerning audience, they would have to approach a higher standard of proficiency to to avoid looking like amateurish fools.

    It’s a shame satire seems to be in short supply these days. The personnel of the MSM are open-goal targets.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alasdair Macdonald May 11, 2018 / 7:42 pm

    I think you make a strong point about the psychological effects on the population of reports of crime, leading to a perception by some people that crime is more prevalent than it actually is. It is the fear of crime that frightens rather than the actual level of crime. Newspapers and the media have always focussed on crime and other bad news and the proportion of this relative to other reports gives a false impression. Regularly, of the 12 or so reports on the BBC Scotland news website, more than half of the stories are about crime. And, as it is the raison d’etre for your site, very few are good news stories.

    It is indicative that the fear of crime is highest amongst older codgers like myself because this is the group that gets out and about least and is the biggest consumer of MSM stories. Young people, who are the ones who get out and about more often are also those most likely to be victims, yet are those least concerned about crime. They have a better sense of perspective.

    I think there is also truth in your suggestion that the low level of esteem of the Scottish media, following their mendacity during the referendum, means that most are sceptical about the reports. The NO voters were disproportionately amongst the elderly and, this is the group most susceptible to media scares. I think, too, that people like John Carnochan of the Violence Reduction Unit were articulate and reasonable and came across as sincere and sensible and CREDIBLE. People were seeing things improve in their areas.

    Despite the media’s continual denigration (with the venal support of the teacher unions) of public education in Scotland, we have a much more educated population which is media savvy and can detect bullshit.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John May 12, 2018 / 7:30 am

    Wait for the next big headline , “As Scotland has been reported as having the lowest fear of crime in UK, we decided to see if this was true , our investigations found that people in Scotland are too frightened to report crime for fear of the corrupt and brutal Police Scotland , hence the reason for lower figures ” . Or have we had that one already ? .


  4. Ron Glaiser May 12, 2018 / 9:52 pm

    Analysing by political party seems very odd with only two unionist parties being disclosed.

    Liked by 1 person

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