Monday, September 19, 2005


Pop quiz, what is the most violent place on earth? I know you’re thinking Jozi Joburg, and you’re not far wrong, but according to this item, it’s Scotland, teeny tiny bagpipe-playing kilt-wearing Scotland.

“Violent crime has doubled in Scotland over the past 20 years and levels, per head of population, are now comparable with cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Tbilisi.”

Tblisi? Has it come to this that my beloved city is on a par with Tblisi, hang about, where is that anyway? Thank you Google, it’s in Georgia, not the nice safe American Georgia, but that chip off the old Russian block leather-jacket vodka-swilling mafiya type Georgia.

The crime rate is worked out in terms of per 100 000 population, so according to Nationmaster 1999-2000, Columbia were way out ahead with 61, we came in at 49, although Tony Leon says it’s 43. There was a large dropoff to relatively peaceful Jamaica at 32 and Venezuela at 31. Note Russia at 20, and Georgia, home of Tblisi, only got 5.

But then, if we can believe this, the figure for South Africa in 1995 was 75,3.

Ah the motherlode, figures from the Institute of Security Studies, they cast doubt on the accepted figures, which have Swaziland way out front, followed by Columbia and eek, South Africa at 51,4.

The picture looks a little different if you use the victimisation survey, which is supposed to eliminate under reporting, but might lead to the opposite, because then Australia is on top, followed by New Zealand, England, with South Africa way down under Scotland.

Go figure. As Mark Twain said “There are three kinds of lies, lies, damn lies and statistics.”

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