Connect with us

Opinion

Phuket Opinion: Making sense of the numbers game

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

Phuket Opinion: Making sense of the numbers game | Thaiger

PHUKET: Our story this week about violent crime in Phuket set off a lively, multi-sided discussion in the Gazette readers forum, with several contributors pondering the relationship between police statistics and the actual situation on the ground.

Dismissing the report as irrelevant, some pointed to the astonishing number of reported cases of prostitution: 1,692 in the whole province for the entirety of fiscal 2010.

It goes without saying that 1,692 acts of prostitution would probably constitute a pretty slow single night’s performance in Patong alone.

The ability to misrepresent or otherwise “spin” statistics for various purposes is well known.

It’s a particularly big problem in the Thai media, not only because of sensationalist tendencies but also because many people in that segment of the industry lack basic numeracy. It is common, for example, to hear some of our leaders making nonsensical statements like, “I am 1,000% sure”, and “…decreased 117%”.

At the Gazette, we feel it important to report official statistics in the same way they are presented to us by the government agencies that produce them, letting readers decide for themselves what they mean, if anything.

Statistical analysis can be a very powerful tool, but only when properly applied. To be meaningful, the figures need to be taken at face value, and the context in which they were collected, well understood.

Some readers have been inclined to assume that a “25.2% rise in the number of prostitution cases reported” indicates a surge in the popularity of mankind’s oldest profession. Such is not necessarily the case. It is probably a better indicator of the number of brothels that failed to pay their dues for immunity.

It is also important to remember that government statistics in Thailand are, in large part, collected for internal purposes – not as grist for the media mill. This is why arrest rates figure so prominently in crime statistics, for example.

As for the recurring increases in reports of violent crime, here, too, background factors need to be taken into account. For example, the increase in cases of premeditated murder, from 38 to 45 over the past two fiscal years, represents a percentage increase of 18.4%. This has to be considered in light of the island’s swelling population.

Finally, some readers have charged the Phuket Gazette with irresponsibility for publishing crime statistics that could damage tourism. To this we would suggest that the bulk of our readers are educated, do have access to the Internet, and are more than entitled to be aware of matters that might affect them.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 mins ago

Kanchanaburi prison field hospital for 379 Covid-19 cases

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 hour ago

Covid-19 train sends 1,490 infected from Bangkok to hometowns

Thailand3 hours ago

Covid-19 Poll: People trust doctors, social media, 85% confused.

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Record high as Chon Buri hits nearly 800 Covid-19 infections

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Covid outbreak closes Nakhon Si Thammarat rubberwood processing factory

Thailand7 hours ago

Nearly 600 temples now offering free cremation services

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand8 hours ago

Phetchabun chicken processing plant sees over 3,000 infections

Phuket8 hours ago

New Covid-19 infections drop, still worrisome for Phuket Sandbox

Phuket8 hours ago

Phuket “car mob” protest demands the removal of PM, calls for mRNA vaccines

Thailand9 hours ago

Samut Sakhon Governor Veerasak offers to resign if communication in his province doesn’t improve

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Sunday Covid Update: 15,335 new cases; provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 15,335 new infections, provincial numbers

Coronavirus Infections10 hours ago

DDC says infections still rising, possibly falling in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

DDC says use the QueQ app to book appointment at sports stadium in Pathum Thani

Business11 hours ago

Inside story behind the Thailand property seachange

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending