Monday, April 12, 2010

Safe Sex: Australians Safer in Strip Clubs than Churches

You're more likely to be assaulted in a church- and not just with terrible music and preachy bromides. reported based on newly released crime data pertaining to 27 classes of criminal offence comparing all houses of worship with strip clubs, gay clubs, brothels, massage parlours and other "adult entertainment" venues. The churches racked up 1600 offences whereas the adult venues only 282. While I personally doubt the difference is statistically significant, it still undercuts the notion that houses of worship are sanctuaries or that moral sanctimony leads to moral (noncriminal )behavior.

Australian for "Neighborhood Watch"


Chambuz said...

Concerning moral sanctimony, it would be significant to find out what percentage of the assaults in churches were by people who came in from the outside and assaulted churchgoers and how many occurred among churchgoers. Sometimes people go into churches and start shooting.

Edward Clint said...

The data available aren't that specific. I would be skeptical that rampaging homicidal lunatics could explain any significant portion of 1600 offenses (some categories of which are theft, alcohol use, harassment). Also you could say the same about a strip club- sometimes freaks stumble in an make trouble.

Murder is a category of reported crime and that might be interesting but the stats are broken down into geographic domains and I'm not going to compile all the data just to see. You can look at it here though->

Jason said...

I think you may have been hoodwinked. As commenters at the link state, just because the numbers in one area are higher than another doesn't mean there's a greater chance of said event occurring in that area or that one can be said to be safer than the other. To make that sort of interpretation you would have to have some information about either the number of churches vs. strip clubs or the number of people in each location. That's the first thing that popped out for me, and I'm just a sociocultural anthropologist. Seems a lot of people were too pleased with this misinformation to run a check on it before passing it on.

Here are some comments from the linked site:

"These are absolute numbers. Are you making any allowance for the volumes?

More guys drink themselves to death in China than in Ireland, but not in percentage terms!

To make a statement of comparative safety you need to give the percentage chance of coming to harm, something these figures are unlikely to support."

"Like Skimmer said, I’m not sure this says what it sounds like. Does the study take into account the relative attendance? What about how many churches there are vs. how many strip clubs there are? What about income level in the vicinity of these places? Funny as it would be, there are just too many unknown factors for this to mean anything."

Edward Clint said...

TO quote myself in the hopes it gets read the second time: ...I personally doubt the difference is statistically significant

Very little can be taken from the raw numbers but analysis is unlikely to paint the churches in a better light.

The argument from volume is silly on the face of it. It means you are suggesting that churches (or people visiting them) greatly outnumbers the volume of every kind of "adult" venue. Here's some data for you: only 7.5% of Australians regularly attended church in 2004 (this number is likely lower in '08 as Aussie churches are shrinking every year). In order to simply even out the crime numbers, you have to argue only 1.33% of Australians go to any strip club/brothel/massage parlor/adult book store/theatre/etc.., in order for churches to appear safer statistically, this number has to be even smaller. There's statistical reason to doubt this is so since in one study 1.9% of Australian men said they visited a prostitute in the past year.

You could be right, all you need is for god to be more popular than sex.

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