Affes Statistik-blogg

Cherry picking in The Washington Post

Posted in Kriminalstatistik - Sverige, Medias mörkning by Affe on mars 4, 2017

The genie is out of the bottle, and the Swedish authorities are trying their best to put it back again. In The Washington Post a criminology professor at Stockholm University, Felipe Estrada, answer the question if Sweden’s welcoming approach to refugees and its alleged effects on crime rates should be a warning sign:

Absolutely not.
Overall, Sweden’s average crime rate has fallen in recent years, Estrada said. That drop has been observed for cases of lethal violence and for assaults, two of the most serious categories of crime.

Then Estrada exemplify with two graphs.


In Sweden we have been told this for decades like a hypnotizing mantra when people have expressed worries about an increase in violent crime. ”Lethal violence is declining! Dont worry, all is well!”

mobile-phonesBut is lethal violence a good indicator of crime as a whole? No, it’s not. Trauma units save a lot more lives today because of technological advances. And with severe injuries minutes and seconds could be the difference between life and death. The use of mobile phones has exploded during this time period.

It’s more interesting to look at attempted murder or manslaughter where access to mobile phones and technological advances in saving lifes have no impact on the figures.


The second example from Felipe Estrada is this:


Note that this is not crime statistics. It is results from victim studies. A problem in Sweden is that victim studies and crime stats seldom follow the same trends. Estrada’s example is a clear case of cherry picking. Below you have the actual crime stats.


It’s worth noting that Sweden didn’t start welcoming refugees in large numbers only in recent years. It has been going on för decades. In 1989 Sweden even ”shut the doors” because we couldnt cope with the large numbers. A couple of years later the newly elected right-wing government opened up the doors again.

The surreal taboo against statistics
The reason we are having this debate at all is that the Swedish government refuse to update the crime statistics based on national origin. The most recent figures we have are 16 years old.1. They say immigration has no impact on crime but refuse to update the very statistics that would prove their point. It’s not only suspicious, it’s surreal as Tino Sanandaji writes in the National Review:

The Swedish criminologists and government officials who adamantly deny the effect of immigration on crime don’t know these figures, and strikingly don’t want to know. Americans who are interested in this topic should focus on this surreal taboo against statistics, not cartoonish exaggerations that falsely portray Sweden as a war zone.

1.This report (Brå 2005:17) was poorly done and didnt reveal country of origin. The most recent proper statistics we have, (comparable to studies made in other western countries) is staggeringly 28 years old.


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