Something that regularly irritates me in the news and politics is when an average figure is reported and then someone adds, “… but in some areas it is even worse…” without ever mentioning that, averages being what averages are, that in other areas things are actually better than the average.
However, on some occasions, it’s fair to point out that the average isn’t really the whole picture, especially when there’s a mean versus median difference or when the proportion of places that are worse than average is so high so as to make the overall picture not really a representative one.
That’s the case with the latest bus crime figures in London. Boris Johnson has been boasting about how crime on London buses has fallen “across London”. However, in a third of boroughs (11 out of 32), such crime in fact rose last year. Islington is one of the eleven.
As Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon rightly said,
It is simply wrong to suggest that bus crime is falling across the whole of London, when in fact in more than one third of boroughs it is increasing – and in some boroughs significantly.