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Mugging is not that serious really

It is not hard to understand why the government does not regard mugging as so serious a crime that it should always lead to a jail sentence, provided “minimal force” is used.

As the government have long made it clear that people should not defend their property with force against people who try to take it by force, they regard just handing your money and goods over as sensible and responsible behaviour. In short, they think the way to prevent violent crime is to stop people resisting and therefore remove the need for muggers to use actual violence rather than just the threat of it.

In other words, they want to make muggers more like tax collectors. Is that really so surprising?

33 comments to Mugging is not that serious really

  • This is simply socialism at work,wealth transference cutting out the middleman…sorry middleperson.

    Would it not be better if muggers published their bank details in the local papers so that we can could set up direct debits to them or their dealers?
    Save them hanging around on cold streets and uncertainties of income…or even the dangers of some violent little old lady.

  • Bernie

    I think they’ve got this spot on. What is more those who object to their property attracting removal in this way are quite likely to be guilty of far more serious genuine crimes like racial or religious hatred.

  • Vereity

    Quite right, Bernie, people who resist giving up their property to licensed muggers operating on their own pitch with the full knowledge and approval of the local police, are likely to be awkward in other respects, as well. They may well racial and/or religious stereotype, drawing conclusions the government has already passed laws against, which makes them the real criminals.

    I can’t see the problem here.

  • John Steele

    But just think about how good the violent crime statistics are going to look.

  • Far too discriminatory to license muggers,it would probably require qualifications,rather onerous to expect from people who are, after all,artists.

  • Verity

    Well, Peter, what system would you suggest to enable the criminal element to redistribute income in their own favour without bothering the state?

    I do understand, and certainly respect, your definition of muggers as “artists”. Actually, “artists” operating in public spaces, like mimes, clowns and other abusers of human rights. Public art. I can see that.

    But how do we get the money out of the wallet of the passerby, or the householder, without troubling the police? People tend to make reports and waste valuable police time.

  • Easy,this is Blairitania,just make it a criminal offence to report a mugging,the boys in blue will be only too happy to hold you whilst a qualified redistributionist goes through your pockets.

  • Bernie

    Verity please excuse me for pointing this out but I feel it is important to make clear that what is being proposed here is not something to “enable criminals” but rather to empower, as Peter correctly says, Licensed Qualified Redistributionists. This is in perfect alignment with New Labour’s strategy of inviting the private sector to achieve society’s aims efficiently thus saving taxpayers the expense of administrative costs.

  • This will reduce economic crime to zero,since property is theft,this converts stolen property to redisributed goods,socialism in action.

  • anonymous coward

    Now if the government can only put a transfer tax on each transaction…

  • John Rippengal

    Bernie, I think you are in error regarding the government wishing to reduce administrations costs.
    That would never do; means reducing the number of civil servants.

    Best of all I like the solution of the letter to the DT today which points out that the best course for old lady pensioners and others who cannot or will not pay their inflated council tax bills it to pay it and then mug the receiver with, say, a threatened knifing to get it back. That way they don’t go to jail.

    It is the very best illustration of the absolute Python madness of our “judiciary”.

  • Brian

    Britain is clearly going for the ‘seventies retro look – That Seventies Show… The French Connection… Taxi Driver. Cool! The kids love it.

    We Yanks went through this whole process – and I mean the exact same thing – from 1965-ish to 1995-ish, and it’s scary/odd to watch Europe follow each step like a retarded Arthur Murray student.

    Daniel Patrick Moynihan, one of our more thoughtful senators, named this phase of the process “Defining Deviancy Down”, a phrase which became famous. His original article is here (annoyingly double-spaced), and an interview with him is here. Basically you take what was unthinkable years ago and make that the new norm, as today’s horrifying enormities will one day be the norm for an unhappy and luckless posterity. Moynihan got the idea when he saw a car parked on a New York street with a sad cardboard sign in the window which whimpered: “NO RADIO”.

    The growth of crime was reversed by the broken windows theory, and deviancy’s supporters have found new hobbyhorses to worry. (For now.) But Moynihan warns we haven’t yet defined deviancy back up:

    “I think we may be stabilizing at a much higher level than we’d known before, and we’re beginning to congratulate ourselves on circumstances that would have been thought horrendous two generations past.”

    Good luck, England!

  • Brian

    I should point out that Giuliani reduced the NYC murder rate by ~80% without putting up any of those ghastly security cameras which Blair’s boys are so fond of.

  • KeirHardie'sCap

    These things are to allow police not to record them as crimes, of course. My Ma-in-Law was robbed at a bus-stop of money from her handbag. She did not resist too much as they were two women, both younger, bigger and fitter than a pensioner like her. When reported to the police they said they cd not record it as a crime – it was categorised as Lost Property. Not being taken serously by them upset and frightened her even more. How many of these are now not recorded? When Torturer Tony of Mesopotamia says recorded crime is going down – he ain’t wrong but actual crime is soaring. I have many friends, colleagues and family who are experiencing this low-level crime – is is just us and nobody else? Shd we be paranoid?

  • Brian,
    The cameras aren’t for crime,they are there to make sure that nothing of Our Dear Leader is lost to posterity.

  • Anna

    “Torturer Tony of Mesopotamia”?

    OK, you go straight into the “wierdo” category of people to be safely ignored. The article was making a serious point but you are contributing nothing to the debate.

  • Money “lost” during a mugging = “lost property”! That did make me laugh.

    I “lost” my wallet on Notting Hill two years ago. I turned to go after them and as I drew level with my bank a beat policeman appeared in front of me. I dragged him into the bank and when the service rep said “have you reported this to the police” I just pointed.

  • Well the new identity cards will take care of all that,the number can double as a personal crime number,simply insert card into the wayside incident machines,put in your pin number and crime category,take your receipt and your crime voucher to the insurance vending machine……..what’s that ….your ID was with your credit cards?
    Don’t you know it is an offence to travel without your ID card?

  • Gordon

    I can remember someone saying some years ago that he would rather see every mugger killed by his intended victim than see a single mugging succeed.
    This did not go down too well with the luvies of course.
    Quite impractical as a sentiment ,since muggings are the oppression of the weak by the strong.
    Far from downsizing this crime we need to recognize that these people are not erring fellow citizens but our enemies and remove them permanently from the streets.

  • Gorden – Ive not heard that before but agree entirely with its seniments.

    Ive come close to been mugged twice – on both occasions i told them to “f*** off” supprisingly this worked. I might have a slight advantage being 6’4″ but im not by any stretch ‘scary’ or ‘hard’ looking.

    I carry a kobutan (google images for a pic) should i ever need to break someones head. I used to carry a serated lock knife but the risk of been imprisioned was too high. And that really is the issue, defending yourself is more likely to get you arrested than the scumbag.

  • pommygranate

    Three weeks ago myself and my wife “lost” our wallets, phones, jewellery and car keys. We were woken at 2 a.m. to hear the sound of a tax collector in our house redistributing our 05/06 fiscal year income.

    Fortunately my 6’4″ rugby league-playing brother-in-law was staying with us at the time. Being an Aussie, he was blissfully unaware of the British government’s policy on self-defence. Hence, we picked up the nearest hostile objects to hand (a baseball bat and a kitchen carving knife) and chased our tax collector (who was in uniform at the time – hoodied top and burberry baseball cap) out of the house.

    The most surreal part of the evening was the reaction of the police. Arriving a full 20 minutes after the phone call (two traffic cops, albeit very friendly ones), they demanded to know “which way did they go?”

    Given that had our friend arrived with wheels, he would probably have been in a different county by then, we were not sure whether to laugh or cry. We were then reprimanded for trying to prevent the audit, being advised next time to stay in our rooms and wait for the police.

    Three weeks on we are still waiting for an update call from the police, having called them almost daily for progress.

    Given the attractive risk/reward payoff of crime, i am contemplating a career change.

  • Verity

    Peter says make reporting a mugging a criminal offence so as not to interfere with the natural redistribution of income, and I think this is a very practical idea. It could be filed under the category of Wasting Police Time. Yes. That would work.

    I also like the ATM-type wayside tellers into which one can insert one’s identity card and key in one’s PIN to report incidents without bothering the police. The police will cooperate with this scheme by not ever reading the incidents.

    Bernie, I stand corrected. Of course we are not “enabling” criminals … how patronising of me! You are correct. We are empowering criminals, which is much more democratic.

  • Julian Taylor

    Pommygranate, the correct course of action in the UK is to telephone the cops and say ‘Someone has broken into my house, but don’t you worry – I just shot him 8 times in the head. Could you send someone round to clean up the mess?”

    Then just wait for the sirens …

  • Julian Taylor

    Verity, of course one of the joys of the ID card system is that muggers will, as a part of social awareness reform, be issued with card readers and be able to tell from your card if you have sufficient income to give him/her the fix of the day. Terry Pratchett’s concept of a ‘Thieves Guild’, where you pay money not to be robbed, comes to mind.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Julian, I think a close study of Terry Pratchett not to mention the written works of Spike Milligan is required to understand our splendid modern judiciary.

    A few weeks back I pointed to new police stats showing recorded crimes of violence were up. One fellow, called Jim I think, got very cross with me, said such stats are misleading and we should go for the national crime survey instead. I wonder if the lenient treatment of muggers will have an effect on the data?

    Come on Jim, give us your thoughts!

  • Verity

    Pommygranate – I like the idea of the strapping Ozzie brother-in-law. You were wise to employ the kitchen carving knife to threaten, but not apprehend, as the police would have seen the blood. But I was sorry to read you didn’t bash at least one of them in the temple with the baseball bat. If it was a really serious bash, you may have had to bury him out in the garden and not bother reporting the incident at all. Better not to have any record of these things. It only messes up the natural order of things.

  • I am appalled by the bigotry of some of your commenters concerning the treatment of young offenders.
    These young people are the broken flowers of our society,all they require is a firm hand,nurturing and returning to the straight and narrow.
    Punishment is not the way,the barbarity of jailing a young person merely for the mistake of wishing to share in ones prosperity is shocking.
    Many of these youngsters have stood before me,their lives broken,but with firmness and kind words they have change their lives totally,I can now count many as my friends,and the visit me regulary at my place in the country.

  • Verity

    “Many of these youngsters have stood before me,their lives broken,but with firmness and kind words they have change their lives totally,”

    Yes, being assured that they will receive kindness and understanding, they can move up to armed robbery without fear.

  • pommygranate

    My brother-in-law has a friend in the Queensland police force who had some interesting advice for dealing with intruders.

    Shoot them in the head first and then fire the second bullet into the ceiling. When the cops arrive, you can point to the ceiling and say “i warned him not to come any closer”

  • Verity

    I like that one! We should all remember that.

    You’d have to retain the sang-froid not to move after you’d wasted the burglar. You would have to fire the second shot from exactly the same position to have credibility with the police. Actually, I think you should do a shot to the wall, as well. To show what a bad aim you are, and how nervous you were, and only managed to hit him by accident when he kept coming at you. He reached out to take the gun from you and in your panic, you pulled the trigger again! He fell, mortally wounded! You were shocked! You dropped the gun in horror – there it is on the floor, officer! I can’t bear to touch it!

    Yes, I can see that this could work.

  • My phone was either lost of stolen on public transport a few months ago. I had it when I got on the train and it was gone when I got to work. It is possible that it fell out of my pocket and it is also possible that my pocket was picked. However, rather than answering the phone when I called it or responding the the voicemail message that I left, the person who found or stole the phone proceeded to use it to make about 40 calls before I had the phone disconnected. (As the calls were all domestic and I had quite a few unused minutes on my plan, this didn’t actually cost me anything, fortunately).

    As it happened the phone was insured, and the insurer would not allow me to make a claim unless the phone was reported to the police. So I did this. The police would only allow me a “lost property” claim and would not allow me to report a crime. As I see it (and indeed as the law sees it) a crime was clearly committed once the person with the phone started using it fraudulently, and by that point the phone had clearly been stolen, regardless of whether somebody’s fingers had taken it from my pocket directly or not. But the police were uninterested in this argument. Presumably this would have inflated the statistics.

  • Luniversal

    In a rare spasm of honesty some years ago, the Chief Constable of the Met said that 80% of London’s muggings were committed by blacks.

    Naturally therefore we cannot treat mugging as an automatically jailworthy offence, lest the prison population become even more skewed towards negritude. For that would be unconscious, institutionalised racism: a far worse offence against contemporary morality than robbery with minimal violence.

    We’d better tag the muggers instead– oh no, can’t do that, unfortunate symbolism, too like the chain gang. Well, we’d better stick to sending them on Outward Bound holidays or admonishing them in private at the nick in the presence of their mothers and fathers, if these elusive characters can be tracked down.

  • Andrew Milner

    The major downside of “killing” a burgular and disposing of the body on the property, is you can never move. Or at least only to countries without an extradition treaty with the UK. Obviously you don’t think through all the ramifications in the heat of the moment. Of course if you have a farm (or at least several acres) the risk drops exponentially. Then, rather than call the useless police which will almost certainly lead to your arrest, you simply check the JCB for diesel. The other possible alternative open is to put the pigs on a strict diet for a few days, and then add extra protein to the pig feed. But take off any jewellery and that Rolex: You wouldn’t want to be guilty of cruelty to animals, would you?