When a boy throws himself off a bridge to fall 20 feet, because he is being attacked; when we hear daily of murder, stabbing, and children with machetes, and other children stoning ambulances, it is time to take stock. Before World War II one rarely saw an article in a newspaper about murder, to the extent that if written, it was emblazoned. Now all news is daily peppered with accounts of murder, so what is the real cause for this terrible breakdown in our society, and what needs to be done to remedy it? Our way of life is totally different to what it was in the 50s, but are we so totally different? I am not aware if a nationwide survey of the type that I’m proposing has ever been carried out to assess if there are actually any patterns in the causes of crime, which are influenced by age, the environment in which people live, and their financial situation, to highlight just a few of the variables. The only way that we can find this out is to examine possible changes in each decade since the 50s and relate them to the rise of violence and criminality that is prevalent today. I did think of an incredibly complicated analysis of the records of all those who have committed crime over the decades, and discovered that it was a monumental task. Then I thought of a marketing research tool that I had used in the past, the Observation Panel. One invited a number of like minded individuals, to a hotel room, showed them a product, asked them for their views on it, and from the information gained, having done this several times, a decision was made on whether the product should be promoted and to what extent. I think graphs should be used once the information is correlated to enable changes to be seen in different categories over the decades. It has been my experience that graphs are far superior to unvarnished statistics, for a quick understanding of any marked variation.
Today’s security, and peoples’ personal records, have to be protected, so a scheme must be designed which will provide analysis, and ultimately promulgation and examination, without access to the names and addresses of the individuals who have been questioned. I therefore propose the following system of analysis by sample, to see if it was possible to find trends over the decades which have led us to where we are today. Firstly we would need to question people who in the past or currently committed one of a number of crimes which we will have under review. To do this we would have to give an incentive to people who agree to be questioned. For their own security they will be required to provide a number of their choice between a 100 and 1000 which would be their personal reference, retained by a collator, who will be the only person to have this information. The environments, the areas that people came from, the types of crime, plus the social and financial background of the individual, would all be estimated in categories, while other information like the reasons for the crime can be explained in more detail.
I am proposing a system which has the same basic philosophy as market research, but instead of being done in groups, is a verbal question and answer session, conducted by a psychologist, but not taped. Veracity would have to be tested. It would be up to the interviewer, or a scribe, to fill in sheets with the categories that they assess the individual’s answer to be. Subsequently after about five people in each of all seven decades have been questioned, and the information converted into graphs, it will be then to decide whether the scheme has any validity, shows any patterns of behaviour, or is a complete waste of time. It’s the old adage of if you want to know what it tastes like, you have to suck it and see.
I don’t anticipate that this idea will be taken up, but if I have at least caused some people in authority to think again, with fresh eyes, on the behavioural problems of today in all ages and specifically the young and relatively young, your time will not have been wasted in reading this and mine in writing it.