Crime Down Under
Date Added: Sept. 27, 2001
This chain uses questionable statistics to "prove" that recent gun control legislation in Australia has actually increased crime there. It is presented as a warning to those in the United States and other countries who are pushing gun control like those in Australia.
Subject: ABOUT AUSTRALIA
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2001 6:05 AM
From: Ed Chenel, a police officer in Australia.
I thought you all would like to see the real figures from Down Under.
It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by a new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by our own government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500 million dollars.
The first year results are now in: Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent, Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent; Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent!) In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300 percent. (Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the criminals did not and criminals still possess their guns!)
While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the past 12 months, since the criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is unarmed.
There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the elderly. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has decreased, after such monumental effort and expense was expended in "successfully ridding Australian society of guns."
You won't see this data on the American evening news or hear your governor or members of the state Assembly disseminating this information.
The Australian experience proves it. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law-abiding citizens.
Take note Americans, before it's to late!
These seem like very convincing statistics and seem to support the popular view of bureaucrats who care nothing about the real effects their laws have. This chain is popular because people want them to be true.
Jenny Mouzos, Research Analyst for the Australian Institute of Criminology, told BreakTheChain.org in 2001 that the letter is an interesting study in creative interpretation of real statistics:
Please find below a detailed response to each claim made in the email entitled "About Australia".
Further information on firearm-related homicide and firearm-related injuries in Australia can be downloaded from the AIC website:
For the most part, the statistics presented in the chain letter and in Ms. Mouzos' rebuttle are insignificant and most of the changes can be attributed to population increase and other factors.
The thing about statistics is that they only show rate of incident - they don't show cause and effect. That interpretation is done by the author based on his own biases and beliefs. Another author might easily have used the same stats to show that the law has been a stunning success.
Frankly, the stats aren't convincing on their own and the author's claim that they are a result of the law is questionable at best. Break this chain.
References: Australian Institute of Criminology