Perspectives on Crime Statistics

Freakonomics blogs about how only 1 out of every thousand cameras in London lead to a crime being solved.

Dan Davis, MP says that this creates:

…a huge intrusion on privacy, yet … little or no improvement in security.

But what’s the evidence of the latter. If Freakonomics is also correct in reporting that there are over a million cameras in London, then over 1000 crimes in London have been solved in London this year by cameras. The obvious question that nobody seems to be asking is whether the money could have been spent more efficiently elsewhere.


  1. olimay says:

    Wait, do you mean people thinking about *how* it could have otherwise been spent?

    *Whether* is the too-obvious question word to use in this case, unless you’re actually asserting that the money could *not* have been spent in a better way.

    • Zachary Kurtz says:

      The claim seems to be that London could have made better use of the money by hiring more policeman and other equipment.

      I used “whether” because there seems to be a dichotomy of choice here.

      My problem with this is that I hear a lot of complaining about “opportunity cost” of not spending on more police, but not much data to support the claim. Or that civil liberties/ privacy has really been violated, for that matter.

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