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Thursday, 10 October 2013

Murder Capital of Scotland

Dundee Police Headquarters

Last week’s Dundee Courier and Advertiser, the newspaper for the whole of the Tayside region, displayed a provocative headline – Dundee is Murder Capital of Scotland.

That was some statement. But as the writer of the Dundee Crime Series, it certainly divorces me from comparisons with Midsomer Murders. Not that my books were ever like this because my writing is considerably darker than the popular cosy crime series. However, when a writer chooses a specific town in which to set their murders, the body count is liable to go up.

So, what makes Dundee the murder capital of Scotland. Well, it’s nothing to do with the body count, and it’s all to do with statistics.

Apparently, between 2012 - 2013, there were 62 homicides in Scotland. Now, a prolific crime writer can easily manage to beat that figure in the area they write about. I’m sure Midsomer Murders’ body count is higher than that over the space of one series.

Of those 62 homicides, six occurred in Dundee – great word that ‘occurred’, it really doesn’t do justice to the bloodthirsty nature of the crimes. Six doesn’t seem a lot to warrant giving Dundee the title of ‘murder capital’, but here’s where statistics come into play. It’s all to do with population, you see. The lower the population the higher the percentage.

So, let’s compare it with Glasgow where there were 19 murders over the same period. Surely this should have made Glasgow, Scotland’s murder capital. Glasgow, however, has a far higher population than Dundee, so the 19 murders only equated to 3.19 murders per 100,000 people. Can you have .19 of a murder? And what happened to the other .81? Ah well such things are beyond me. Anyway, to get back to the point. Dundee’s measly six murders equated to 4.05 per 100,000 people. There’s those pesky numbers below the decimal point again. Ah, well, I’m not going to worry about that this time.

Funnily enough, both Edinburgh and Aberdeen only had two murders each. Ian Rankin’s going to be out of a job. But me, as long as I keep setting my books in Dundee, Scotland’s murder capital, I can’t go wrong.

Check out the Dundee Crime series when you have a minute, because there are more murders in my writing territory than there are in Ian Rankin’s.

Chris Longmuir


Bill Kirton said...

Great blog and a persuasive argument, Chris. And it's never occurred to me to put you and Midsomer Murders into the same sentence.

Catherine Czerkawska said...

Great post as ever and you're right, Chris. Clearly, Midsomer accounts for most of the murders in the UK. I frequently listen to an excellent R4 radio programme called More or Less where they analyse many of these exclamatory media statistics. Recently they did a pretty good demolition job on the panic about children getting drunk.

Melanie said...

Excellent post as usual, Chris. I would never have thought of you and Midsomer Murders in the same sentence either.

I can't wait to see how you do away with your next victim, Chris.

julia jones said...

Whatever happened to "jam, jute and journalism"? Seriously though, the c19th and early c20th poverty indices for Dundee make seriously grim reading (but please don't ask me to quote - I mugged them up for Fifty Years in the Fiction Factory and now remember only the headline info, none of the stats at all.)

Chris Longmuir said...

You're right, Bill and Melanie, Midsomer Murders is a bit alien to my style of writing. As for what to do with the next one, Melanie - how about - drowning in jam. smothered by jute, or mangled in a printing press (or should it be crushed by a computer). And Julia, the jam and jute are no longer, but journalism is alive and kicking its heels, otherwise we wouldn't have had the Courier headline that inspired this blog!

Anne Mackle said...

Nineteen murders in Glasgow? I live there and it doesn't matter what the population is its still scary. I actually thought you were going to say Glasgow was the murder capital.

Chris Longmuir said...

Well, Glasgow certainly has more murders than Dundee, but it's all to do with statistics!

Anonymous said...

It is all about how likely you are to be murdered. Dundee may have less murders but it has less people. You are more likely, just, to be murdered there. Basically you are more likely to be murdered if you are a Dundonian than if you are a Glasweegian. That is what it comes down to. There are more murders in London than in Glasgow but that doesn't mean London is more dangerous than Glasgow does it. Likelyhood.Not rocket science!