Crimes by foreigners going up?

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If I had a dollar for every time Korea can't statistics to agree with itself, I wouldn't need to be writing / looking at stories such as these. From the Korea Times:
The number of crimes involving foreigners has risen sharply so far this year, the Justice Ministry said Monday.

About one third of the total were traffic violations, followed by felonies and fraud.

According to the statistics submitted by the Ministry of Justice to the National Assembly, the total number of crimes committed by foreign nationals reached a record high of 34,108 last year, nearly a three-fold increase from 12,821 in 2004.

In 2005, the number rose to 13,584 and surged to 17,379 the following year.

For the first seven months this year, 22,465 crimes by foreigners have already been processed, according to data. The authorities expected foreigners' crimes to exceed 40,000 for the first time this year.

During the seven-month period, no notable increase in the number of crimes by Koreans took place, the latest data from the Supreme Prosecutors' Office said. In 2004, Koreans were involved in around 2.08 million crimes and the number slightly decreased to 1.96 million in 2007.
The Joongang Daily has a story up, but doesn't add much to the explanation of things. The idea that the crime rate amongst Koreans hasn't gone up, though? Really? Are these the same cops passing by the illegal DVD sellers, the scores of prostitution cards, subway sellers, to nab the jaywalking foreigner?

While this does go against some recent stories about the crime rate going down, a closer look is in order. The last time I blogged about foreigner crime, the numbers given were for arrests made - not number of crimes as is being described above. There's also the word 'processed' - does that include accusations against foreigners, or just a report being made? I would think the number of arrests would indicate a certain amount of evidence for a serious-enough crime being committed, whereas a 'processed' crime can probably mean anything.

The KT article is nice enough to point out the following:
While the number of foreigners committing crimes has increased, proportionally they commit fewer crimes than native Koreans.
For those keeping score, the Joongang Daily seems to say Western foreigners aren't committing nearly as many crimes as Eastern foreigners:
Foreigners imprisoned also rose rapidly, from 313 in 2004 to almost 1,000 as of the end of August. Jailed were 646 Chinese, 120 Taiwanese, 31 Mongolians and 24 U.S. citizens.

By the type of crime, those involved in traffic-related incidents accounted for the largest portion last year at 7,298. Serious felonies came next, at 5,982, followed by 3,390 accused of fraud. Chinese made up 60 percent of total foreigners accused of crimes, followed by Mongolians, U.S. citizens, Vietnamese and Japanese.
I love this concept of a 'traffic-related incident', by the way. How many foreigners are driving? Pushing people at a subway station? How many foreigners are running over pedestrians as they drive (Korea has the highest pedestrian death rate in the OECD)?

I can understand the need to police the people living in your country. But seriously - let's take a nice hard look at your own numbers - which admit Koreans still commit more crimes than non-Koreans - and figure out who to go after.

And you wonder why foreign investors aren't coming to Korea.





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