Alex Steer

Better communication through data / about / archive

If it contains numbers, it must be an insight

144 words | ~1 min

Looking for crime statistics the other day, I came across an article from the Evening Standard in 2007, whose headline told me:

Average age of murdered teenagers is just 16

Given that we're talking about people who aged between 13 and 19, you wonder what the authors of the piece thought their average age might be.

And, as if to labour the point, we later find out...

The ages of those charged in connection with the killings range from 13 to 22, with the average being 17.

Which is, of course, similarly useful maths. And far easier than, say, taking an mean or median of the household incomes of the perpetrators or victims, or their average number of prior contacts with the police, and using those numbers to start digging for stories more insightful than the 'inexplicable teen knife madness' headlines that drowned out everything else a couple of years ago

# Alex Steer (17/07/2009)