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To know or not to know, which is better?
There's been a huge amount of coverage in the press of the terrible murder of Jo Yeates in Bristol.
Police there want to keep the investigation in the public domain so increasing the chance of useful information coming from the community.
At the same time they try and give good advice about people's safety but also reassurance about the rarity of such serious crimes. Does this reassurance work though? I ask because we are currently concerned about a rise in burglaries in the City.
I want to ask people to be careful about the security of their homes and property but I don’t want to make people unduly concerned. Overall crime, including violence, is down again this year. If one type, such as burglary, is increasing, is it better to be very clear about that or does even the mention of burglaries increasing give rise to a disproportionate fear of being a victim? I think a little bit of concern is probably quite a healthy prompt to being careful. Burglary and car crime have fallen so much over the last few years that maybe people have become a bit blasé about the need to be careful with their property.
What do you think about the way we do or maybe should communicate what's going on in the City? Is it unsettling to hear about crime or is it at least better to know what is going on?
Before long we will have available to the public on line information about most types of crime committed in the City so people can easily see what is happening in their neighbourhood. I think that’s a good thing and more openness is surely the right thing to work towards?
We'll never put everything about an investigation out publicly, that would be daft but if by being more open it helps us to catch people like Jo Yeates' killer then there's little debate.
Or is there?