Crime figures are going down, according to the Government stats. People are sceptical. As an old TV commercial used to say, the stain says Hot, the label says Not.
The final impotence of those with no solutions and a fare share of the blame, is to bleat about the sensationalism of the media. On the contrary, I would suggest that in various ways the media actually plays down the extent of the problem.
Of course we know that the likes of the Guardian will pretend there isn't any kind of breakdown. To say there was would be to admit to the results of years of liberal handiwork, and that would require real moral courage. It's not going to happen.
However other, more populist papers such as my own local, the London Evening Standard, have striven manfully to keep afloat the 'narrative' of the capital as a great, diverse, dynamic city like no other which is a massive success story, and a model for the world. I am a Londoner and love the city, but this is a myth. Like New York before Guiliani, London is slowly becoming unliveable in.
I'd suggest that the reason people feel that crime is more rampant is because, on an everyday level, they see low-level disturbances and anti-social behaviour which might actually fly under the radar of criminality, but which manages to alienate, frighten and disturb. Eventually, many draw the conclusion that there is a growing 'lawlessness.' The public arena appears to be increasingly dangerous to be in, and so they retreat from it.
The BBC reports today that two police officers have been attacked by a mob in south London when they asked a 15-year-old girl to pick up some litter she dropped. Metropolitan Police said one of the officers suffered injuries including a bite wound in the attack in North End in Croydon, on Wednesday afternoon.
In actual criminal, statistical terms, this incident will, on paper, probably appear as a series of 'smaller' offences. But try to imagine the effect of it on the people who must have witnessed it.