Using Science to Fix Things

Just read an interesting article about how to cut crime - "Crime: Do we need more police?"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/parties_and_issues/...

The politicians are all bellowing about putting more bobbies on the beat to cut crime figures, while criminologists are arguing that economic and social factors are more important. A line removed from a cabinet office document reads:

"This assessment is in keeping with the assessment of many criminologists who argue that economic trends, employment levels and relative income inequality, alongside technological developments and broader cultural and social changes, are the main influencers on crime trends."

Is politics too blunt an instrument to deal with the causes of problems? Can it only try and batter the symptoms? This seems to me to be exactly the same situation as trying to make us all happy by making us richer, unless we look at the underlying causes we will never get beyond the idea of just putting more bobbies on the beat. The real problem is that elections are decided by voters who are more swayed by snappy slogans than reasoned thought.


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