The Conversation: James Treadwell: Knife crime and homicide figures reveal the violence of austerity

The latest crime statistics are confirmation in reverse of arguments put forward by the “rogue economist” Steven Levitt in Freakanomic. In Freakanomics Levitt researched the statistics on crime in the 1990’s. He realised that the legalisation of abortion in the United States in the 1970’s was the reason crime came down in the 1990’s. Put simply, the unwanted children of the 1970’s were not born. Twenty years later, these children were not there to be the criminals of the 1990’s. The Tories can only see the world from their point of view, from their position of privilege. They are wilfully blind to the pressures on the most vulnerable because they have never been that weak. Austerity removed social services. Services that helped the most in need. No services to help, vulnerable individuals become involved in crime. The Tories presume crime is a choice. As if the most vulnerable have chosen to hide huge sums of money in off-shore accounts to avoid paying tax. Crime for the vulnerable is not a choice, it is a consequence. No money, poor housing, disrupted education, lack of choices, this list could go on. You give me a circumstance and I’ll give you a reason why someone might end up getting involved in crime. It is not as simple as the Tory narrative would have us believe. What they a doing is blaming the victim for the crime. But there is no easy fix for the problems caused by austerity. It has taken ten years for austerity to get us where we are now. It may take ten years after it has ended to see crime figures decline. What if austerity continues? What will Britain look like with ten more years of rising crime figures? If it’s a “war zone” now, what will ten more years of austerity bring, an apocalypse?

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