Andrew Bolt, perhaps encouraged by the ‘revenge of the nerds’ regime change at Melbourne’s Herald Sun is off the long run this morning, returning to one of his pet themes, the eerie juxtaposition of crime and dark skin. Kevin Andrews was right, Bolt reminds us, to “worry and urge caution” over our intake of African refugees, people who, it appears, all too readily turn to crime. Bolt concludes after a lengthy (he does bang on) survey of the available statistics.

Here is some other number crunching, just to put this poisonous little call to arms into perspective.

Says Bolt, “The Victoria Police Crime Statistics 2006-07 record that 115 Somalis allegedly committed a crime that year. Given the 2006 Census says 2626 Somalia-born people live in Victoria, the police figures mean one in 23 Somalis was allegedly involved in crime in just one year. For the rest of us, it’s just one in 85.”

So he’s saying that 1 in 23 Somalis of all ages allegedly commit offences in a given year in Victoria. Which is barely different to the 1 in 24 of all Victorians between the ages of 15-19 that allegedly commit offences in a given year. Most of the Somali offenders are actually between 15 and 24. The document that this all comes from can be seen here (it’s only a page). So really you’d have to view the Somali crime rate as a triumph of successful social integration. No better, no worse than the rest of us.

Peter Fray

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