Crime and justice chart of the week

Chart: Sentences for knife carrying are increasing, but not for teens

Sentences for carrying a bladed or pointed article have become more severe for adults over the past decade, with 41% of men now going to prison on conviction. For younger offenders, the picture is different: half of girls and a third of boys caught with a knife receive no penalty – a proportion that is largely unchanged since 2008 – while fewer than one in ten receive a custodial sentence.

Chart: Much of the homicide drop has already been erased

The rapid decrease in the homicide (murder, manslaughter and infanticide) rate in England and Wales between 2000 and 2014 was unprecedented over the previous century, but a third of that decrease has already been reversed. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data sources: Homicide counts 1898 to 2001/02, Homicide counts 2001/02 onwards, Population estimates 1838 to 2018. Notes This chart uses police-recorded homicide offences because that time series extends further back in time than the Home Office Homicide Index, the main alternative source of homicide data.

Chart: Police are arresting half as many people as a decade ago

A combination of legal changes and decreases in many common types of crime, together with closures of custody suites due to budget cuts, mean police are making about 760,000 fewer arrests per year now, compared to a decade ago. The number of children arrested has decreased fastest, potentially driven by recognition of the negative consequences of criminalising young people. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

Chart: Online crime now the most-likely threat to many businesses

Online crime (including hacking, phishing and virus attacks) is now experienced by more businesses than any other type across sectors as varied as manufacturing and communications. But in the sectors most-likely to experience a crime (retail, accomodation and entertainment), traditional offences such as theft are still more likely. The data come from the government’s Commercial Victimisation Survey, which each year asks about crime against selected business types. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

Chart: Most people think the justice system is fair, fewer say it's effective

Every month, the Crime Survey for England and Wales asks a representative sample of adults about their perceptions of the criminal justice system. Across age, education, ethnic and employment groups, most people believe the system as a whole is fair, but only about half say it is effective. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2019

Chart: Drug use was falling, but that seems to be changing

Self-reported drug use has fallen for most of the past 20 years according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, but in the past seven years the use of cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy has increased substantially, particularly among people aged 16–24. However, drug use is still lower now than it was at the turn of the millenium, with about 10% of adults saying they’ve used an illegal drug in the past year.

Chart: Over 10 years, basic police pay has fallen by 22% in real terms

A combination of government-led changes to pay mean a police constable who has just completed initial training in England and Wales is paid about £6,700 less now than they would have been a decade ago, once inflation is taken into account. These figures exclude overtime and special allowances, but those are unlikely to have made up for decreasing basic pay. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart

Chart: Homicide methods are changing

Homicide (murder, manslaughter and infanticide) in England and Wales is rare, with about 12 homicides per million people last year, a similar rate to a decade ago. But homicide methods are changing: the rise in knife murders is well known, but there are other changes, too. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Office for National Statistics, 2019 The homicide counts here exclude victims of the Hillsborough disaster, who died in 1989 but were recorded as manslaughter cases in 2017, and victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in 2018.

Chart: For most offences prison is the exception, not the rule

Of the 663,000 non-motoring offences for which people were sentenced in 2018, only about 11% resulted in a prison sentence. Some convictions, like rape and robbery, almost always result in a prison sentence (at least for adult offenders), while other offences very rarely result in imprisonment. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Ministry of Justice, 2019

Chart: Almost 7 million adults have been victims of partner abuse

Among the 42 million adults in England and Wales aged between 16 and 74, 1.3 million have been sexually assaulted by a current or former partner, 4.3 million subjected to non-sexual assault and 2.3 million have been stalked. In every category, at least twice as many women as men have been victimised. larger image | annotated R code to produce this chart Data source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2018