Opinion: Why does the media think it’s okay to report crime statistics?

Last night I was both shocked and disgusted to see a news report about African gangs on one of our major TV stations.

The “news report” (if you can even call it that) informed me that Sudanese people make up 0.1% of the Melbourne population but committed 3% of all serious assaults, 5% of all car thefts and 8.6% of all aggravated burglaries.

In other words you’re 30 times more likely to be seriously assaulted, 50 times more likely to have your car stolen and 86 times more likely to be robbed by a Sudanese person compared to a non Sudanese person.

As I sat there and watched with my cat (Mr Huffington) I couldn’t help but remark to him about how low the journalism in this country has fallen.

I grew increasingly enraged as I watched, not at the statistics but at the media for thinking this was in any way newsworthy.

Is this really what counts as journalism these days?

Reporting on crime statistics?

Do people really think that just because 8.6% of all aggravated burglaries are committed by 0.1% of the population that we actually have a problem?

I don’t think so.

The story kept going on about how some people were growing afraid of Sudanese people in Melbourne.

Can you believe it?

Some people were actually afraid of being robbed by Sudanese people despite the fact it’s only 86 times more likely compared to being robbed by a non Sudanese person.

Not only that but some people actually think this information is worth being reported on and discussed and debated, rather than just ignored in the hope that it fixes itself.

It made me feel ashamed to call myself Australian and I realised just how racist this country has become.

Luckily the next story was about famous cats on Instagram. It cheered me up instantly and left Mr Huffington and I feeling most pleased.

About the Author: Ms Doherty is a contributing writer for The Guardian. She loves red wine, good cheese and her cat, Mr Huffington