More broadcast journalism

Bill Palmer w_a_palmer at BELLSOUTH.NET
Sat May 1 17:11:45 UTC 2010

To respond to Joel's question, it seems to me to claim that the crime "rate"
in  a small place is equal to the crime rate in a much more populous
location deceptively implies that it is proportionately more dangerous. Sort
of like saying that one of the disadvantages of American life is that half
of the population has income which is below the median.

Crime rate (I suppose) refers to crimes per unit population.  So if Arizona,
with substantially fewer people than NYC had as much total crime, that would
be noteworthy, but not that it had a similar rate of crime.

However, it could just be that Dobbs, et al subscribe to the discredited
conventional wisdom that New York's crime rate makes it extraordinarily

Bill Palmer

----- Original Message -----
From: "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2010 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: More broadcast journalism

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
> header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: More broadcast journalism
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 5/1/2010 09:15 AM, Bill Palmer wrote:
>>Twice in the past few days (Lou Dobbs this morning + one other time
>>a few days ago by someone else, but I don't remember who)
>>conservative commentators have asserted that Arizona now has a crime
>>rate equal to that of NYC.  That seems unremarkable.  I'm sure there
>>are many places with crime rates that equal or exceed
>>NYC's...Detroit, Richmond, St, Louis, Atlanta, maybe.
> Sherlock Holmes always said (well, he said once) that there was
> surely more crime in the country than in the city, because there was
> less chance of being observed.  (Gov. Bradford of Plymouth would
> probably have agreed with him.  When journalizing 1642 -- a year when
> he was seriously disturbed about the apparently increased rate of
> serious crime -- Bradford wrote "hear [that is, here] (as I am verily
> perswaded) is not more evills in this kind, nor nothing nere so many
> by proportion, as in other places; but they are here more discoverd
> and seen, and made publick by due serch, inquisition, and due
> punishment".)
> Perhaps the crime rate in Arizona has increased (if in fact that is
> the case) because there are more sheriffs out looking for
> illegal-alien-looking people.  Just as the rate of <name any of
> several diseases> has increased because we are now better at finding it.
>>It would only be noteworty if there was an equal amount of total
>>crime, nest-ce pas?
> Why is the total amount of crime more significant than the rate (say,
> per person per year)?
> Joel
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