Whensoever has a magickal system been so widely practiced by the masses yet so poorly understood by them as this magick of Statistics. From just the simplest datum does a common plowman conjure that magnificent edifice knowne as Conclusion and then propound that Conclusion to all the world which, in equal ignorance, accepts it as such.
Verily, we who are truly wyse see the Truth in this charade. These Conclusion, we knowe, are falsely founded and only appear to exist in the earthly realm through the veils and conceits of this Statistical Magicke. For proofe thereof, we need look no farther than the venerable dailye news paper, Ye ProJo. Herein we find such magick made on this very day. After ye Jumpe.
Take this poste that shows the grave danger of violence upon the Innocents of Providence. Indeed by some twenty per cent did these attacks increase in our urban jungle, while across the broader land did these same attacks diminish by two per cent.
Then read below in the commentary by the masses calling for the Chief Constable’s hide for gross malfeasance and declaring “…you can’t walk the streets of Providence safely.”
Yet we who are truly wyse in the ways of these Magicks can see the tricks and foolery in these gesticulations. For is it not written in Incantations of Statistical Magick, “Get thee to a high place so to have dominion over the grande Context of thy data”…?
In goode sooth, the very source of these data, that occult cabal known by the mysticke runes FBI, declare with a message ad interuptim the grave dangers of conjuring conclusion from too small a data set and without the fearful Context demanded in the ancient tome. To wit (all emphasis by FBI):
Caution Against Ranking
Each year when Crime in the United States is published, some entities use reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular town, city, county, state, or region. Consequently, they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting communities and their residents. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the range of unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment.
See Caution Against Ranking for additional information.
Even the Commoner who has struggled through eight or nine grades of Learning can see that two such “unique conditions affecting each…jurisdiction” must be 1) broader geographical context and 2) broader chronological context (tyme). The former provides a larger and therefore more stable data set for baseline comparison, and the latter provides the perspective of several reporting periods because “the arc of history bends slowly”.
Here, we compare these Statistics for all the Union and for the city of Providence, we provide data from as far back as FBI can remember (2005). Note well that the figures for USA represent thousands (000).
The data show that Providence has run counter-trend consistently and shows a slightly greater net drop than the national average. You all shoulde agree that the recent spate of violence is a regrettable reversal of an otherwise commendable trend.
But a cause for panick and the stock piling of muskets? Save your energy for the return of He-Who-Sleeps!
3 thoughts on “Lies, Damne Lies, And Ye Magickal Conjurings Call’d Statistics”
Ye panick spreads…
Also, if you look back, violent crime last year was very low, lower than it’s been since -1971-. Even with the recent rise, we’re still at 1974 levels.
Personally, I think the Police are scared sh*tless that budgets are tight and crime is so low. I know that if I was in office facing multi-million dollar gaps, I’d be looking at nuking some police positions and just dealing with year 2000 level crime, or I’d be imaging new ways to raise the crimerate ( see here: http://newsblog.projo.com/2009/06/rhode-islands-s.html ), that’s the -real- reason the State Police say that a civil offense for the first infraction isn’t ‘adequate’.
Ye Editors showe grave respecte for ye Elders, a wysdome rare in these days. And, likewise, from ye edits do I gain in Knowledge and shall mende my ways suchlike. In kind reply, I shall ask that when we have woken He-Who-Sleeps, that you shall be allowed the honor of being eaten first!