Thursday, March 28, 2013

Yonhap reports on the KIC foreign crime study

From incorrectly calculated foreign crime rates to tabloid TV

Part 1: Incorrect statistics portray Americans and Canadians as more prone to criminality
Part 2: Yonhap reports on the KIC foreign crime study
Part 3: Joongang Ilbo: "Get a Korean woman pregnant": Shock over manual for foreign men
Part 4: JTBC's "We are Detectives" looks at foreign crime using the KIC report

Part 5: JTBC's "We are Detectives" looks at xenophobia and foreign crime
Part 6: For JTBC, consensual sex between white men and Korean women is a "sex crime"

Part 2: Yonhap reports on the KIC foreign crime study

In the second last image below (a table breaking down crimes by types of crimes) I didn't know what 폭처법 was. Looking here, it becomes obvious it's a sort of acronym ('력행위 등 벌에 관한 률(폭처법)'), or a law punishing violent acts.

[Original post] 

A month ago I criticized a report by the Korean Institute of Criminology about foreign crime in Korea after it was reported by the Herald Gyeongje back in February, and now Yonhap has decided to join in a month late. On Monday it reported the following in English:
Foreign criminals increasing rapidly: report

2013-03-25 18:14

SEOUL, March 25 (Yonhap) --The number foreign criminal suspects arrested in South Korea nearly doubled in the 2007-2011 period, a government report showed Monday.

The number of foreigners apprehended as a suspect in a criminal case increased from 14,524 in 2007 to 27,144 in 2011, while the number of Korean criminal suspects decreased from 2.11 million to 1.87 million in the same period, according to the report released by the state-run Korean Institute of Criminology.

Accordingly, the share of crimes committed by foreigners increased from 0.7 percent to 1.4 percent in the same period, the report showed.

The ratio of foreign criminal suspects with a previous criminal record also jumped from 4 percent to 11 percent in the cited period, the report said, indicating a surge in the number of repeat offenders.

In 2011, two Koreans per 100,000 were apprehended for murder while 11 foreigners per 100,000 were arrested for the same charge, the report showed.

"The crime rate by foreigners in murder, robbery and drug-related crimes has reached a dangerous level," Choi Young-shin who led the study said.

By nationality, a total of 7,064 Mongolians were arrested per every 100,000 registered foreigners as criminal suspects in 2011, followed by 4,124 Canadians, 3,785 Russians and 3,634 Thais. A total of 6,756 Americans, excluding U.S. soldiers and their families, were apprehended per 100,000 foreigners here, the report said.

The crime rate by illegal immigrants was relatively low, the report showed.

According to the report, 21 percent of foreigners in the country were illegal immigrants, while 13.5 percent of foreign criminal suspects were illegal immigrants in 2007. In 2011, 12 percent of foreigners were illegal immigrants, while only 5.7 percent of foreign criminal suspects were illegal immigrants.
It also published a report in Korean which is quite similar, though reading it makes clear that the sentence above - "A total of 6,756 Americans, excluding U.S. soldiers and their families, were apprehended per 100,000 foreigners here" - is a mistranslation. The Korean language article says that the US figures don't include USFK and dependents when calculating its crime rate and so estimates the crime rate to be lower.

As for this:
"The crime rate by foreigners in murder, robbery and drug-related crimes has reached a dangerous level," Choi Young-shin who led the study said.
That's not in the study, so Yonhap must have gotten that comment from him (or not, whatever).

Taking another look at the report, I realized that they didn't accidentally use figures for 'registered foreigners' only when calculating their crime rates - they did it deliberately. They actually pointed out three categories: registered foreigners, short term visitors, and "notified address" (고소 신고), which includes F-visa foreigners (thanks to Paul Kerry for that last piece of information). I could perhaps understand not including the latter groups in their calculations, but only if they also removed the crimes committed by people in those categories, which they didn't. And, off the top of my head, there were certainly F-4 visa holders involved in the drug arrests here and here last year. That the Korean Institute of Criminology knowingly left out those groups suggests they're either incompetent or that they're aiming for a higher crime rate.

On the incompetent side, I've noticed a few errors in the report. For example, it says here that 27,144 people were arrested in 2011, while this chart says 26,915 people were arrested.

As well, according to the Korean Immigration Service, there were 1,395,077 foreigners here at the end of 2011. I'm not sure what to make of the chart below, then, which has a somewhat similar number at the top (total 'registered' foreigners' for 2011, 1,371,859), but then all of the figures below are are the same 'registered foreigners' we see here (which states that the total number of 'registered foreigners' is 982,461, not 1,371,859). It's confusing, to say the least.

For the curious, here's the list of types of crimes by year.
(category/total/murder/theft/rape/burglary/assault/violent acts/ subtotal/scams/drugs/gambling/etc.)

Even corrected to the proper crime rate, the murder rate is 2.5 vs 7.4 per 100,000, with foreigners way ahead there. The drug crime stats make little sense, at least compared to Supreme Prosecutor's Office stats, which say that 9,174 people in total were arrested for drug crimes in 2011, as compared to 5,193 (+244) that we see above. As I've noted before, the per 100,000 drug crime rate for Koreans and foreigners was 18.5 vs 21.1 arrests in 2011, and 18.5 vs 24.8 in 2012, which isn't a huge difference (at least not the difference the media would have you believe).

Yonhap also provides this graph, which is a bit of a hoot. It says that the overall foreign crime stats (people arrested per 100,000) are calculated using 'registered foreigners' from 2007-9, but use 'registered foreigners' + 'notified address' (F visas) to calculate the rates for 2010 and 2011 - all in the same graph!

It also appears that the Korean crime rate we see above is incorrect. According to my calculations, if out of 1,900,489 crimes in 2011 27,144 were committed by foreigners, then Koreans committed 1,870,345 crimes, and out of a population of 48,219,172 (2010 census figure) that makes for a crime rate among Koreans of about 3.9% (or 3879 per 100,000), not the 3,692 seen in the graph above.

The correct foreign crime rate, taking into account all foreigners in Korea at the end of 2011, is 1,945 per 100,000.

As for other years, judging by the average population growth of about 200,000 per year seen in the censuses (46,136,101 in 2000, 47,278,951 in 2005, and 48,219,172 in 2010), one could estimate an approximate population for the other years by adding 200,000 per year to the 2005 figure, but let's just use the higher 2010 figure (which will give Koreans a lower crime rate).

Using the crime statistics here, in 2007 the Korean crime rate was 4419 per 100,000, in 2008, 4868, in 2009, 4859, and in 2010, 4073 per 100,000. 
As for foreigners, their crime rate in 2007 was 1362 per 100,000, in 2008, 1779, in 2009, 1998, and in 2010, 1787 per 100,000.

While the foreign crime rate is rising and some crimes (like murder) are ahead of the Korean crime rate by quite a bit - and these facts are cause for concern - the fact that no mention is made of the fact that the foreign crime rate - when calculated correctly - is actually half that of the Korean crime rate makes one wonder about the media representation of it.

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