The overall rates of recorded crime in the UK have been steadily decreasing since 2003. At the beginning of 2010 crime rates in the UK were the lowest they had been for 20 years.
I found the data for crime rates in the UK on data.gov.uk.
The increase in drug crime could be caused by the introduction of more legal drugs. The teenagers reported of dying of a ‘legal high’ earlier in March this year, as reported by Sky News, were taking the legal drug Methodrone. Even though Methodrone was banned after these tradgic deaths, more legal drugs have come onto the market since, and many of them, such as MDAI are thought to have worse effects than Methodrone. Legal drugs are advertised widely over the internet, and are available at a low price. The rise could also be blamed on the soft approach to people caught with Cannabis, who are usually warned instead of arrested. Possession of Cannabis is an offence which can eb prosecuted, but often courts rule community service or fines. This ‘light’ punishment is not enough to deter Cannabis users.
It was obvious from the data that drug crime was one of the few types of crime that increased as overall crime in the UK decreased. Using Microsoft Excel I made these first two graphs to clearly depict the rise and fall in crime.
The amount drug crime increased compared to the amount overall crime decreased was not clear from the data. I drew up a graph, again using Excel to show the rise/fall in relativity to each other. This demonstrates that even though the overall crime rate has fallen, drug crime rates have increased more so.
Comparatively, the percentage increase in drug crime is much larger than the percentage decrease in overall crime. From 2003-2009 overall crime rates in the UK fell by 21%, whereas drug crime rose by almost 70%, from 143,320 reported incidents to 243,406.
The police may be proud of the overall decrease in crime in the UK, but it is clear that not enough is being done to fight drug crime.
The Independent have reported a 12% increase in drug related deaths, while police forces have had reports of people feeling more vulnerable due to an increased fear in drug crime. 66% of people feel that drug users need treatment, not punishment.
Using Data journalism in this way allows important information to be compared easily. It saves using lots and lots of numbers, and it presents them in a way which can easily understood.