In his April 11 letter, “Reduction in crime is relative,” James Holland misunderstands the purpose of my original letter (“Migrants are to be welcomed,” April 1). It was not only to dispute claims of rampant crime in Britain and the alleged culpability of “unassimilated” foreigners, but also to challenge the basis on which these claims are premised. Public perceptions of threat appear to be considered sufficient evidence in the same way that fears, rather than facts, inform how foreigners are sometimes viewed in Japan.
The variance between perceptions and reality is exemplified by the cases that Holland cites. According to the British Retail Consortium, shoplifting in Britain has risen by 70 percent over the last six years and has cost British retailers 13.26 billion pound since 2000. In contrast, figures released by APACS, the British payments association, show that credit card fraud decreased in the two years to 2006, and following the introduction of the “chip and PIN” method of authorization, fraudulent losses in shops declined by 43 percent.
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