Safety in numbers

Whatever happened to investigative journalism? According to the Adver’s editor, his journalists ‘give the news a dose of perspective.’ Not when they’re reporting police statistics they don’t. Yesterday, they reported a police survey of crime concerns in Pinehurst. It wasn’t the most comprehensive survey.

Officers surveyed people living in the Tree Courts area following a three month long crackdown on crime and antisocial behaviour. More than 50 questionnaires concerning crime issues were sent to homes in the area.

Tree Courts is just a small part of Pinehurst, but the Adver didn’t let that fact get in the way of the headline.

Pinehurst people feel safe – survey

That this was a small unrepresentative survey went uncommented upon by the Adver’s journalist, though not by their readers.

84% people who responded said they felt safe where they lived.

Looks impressive, except that only 38 of 55 surveys were returned, and no indication is given of how many answered each question. So, to put some of the Adver’s percentages into numbers of people, at most:

  • 32 people said they felt safe where they lived;
  • 18 people felt antisocial behaviour had decreased as a result of the police operation;
  • 24 people were happy with the multi games use area opened in July.

Presented like that, the survey results look much less impressive.