Connect with us


Phuket Opinion: Making sense of the numbers game



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

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.

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Politics44 mins ago

BREAKING: Prayut reinstated as Prime Minister of Thailand

Technology48 mins ago

What role for Thailand in China’s great European EV invasion?

Cambodia54 mins ago

Cambodian delegation in UK to seach for stolen treasures

Sponsored7 hours ago

10 Best Seed Banks that Ship Cannabis Seeds Discreetly to You (Free US Shipping)

Thailand1 hour ago

20 baht notes printed with errors, says Bank of Thailand

Crime2 hours ago

Loan shark bombs debtor’s house in southern Thailand

Thailand2 hours ago

Thai researchers develop flood-resistant rice strain

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Press Room2 hours ago

Southeast Asia’s hospitality leaders step into the ring to fight for sustainability at PHIST 5

Crime2 hours ago

Horrified relatives attempt ID of disfigured suitcase victim

Travel2 hours ago

Things to do in Bangkok that cost next to nothing (2022)

Travel3 hours ago

5 best spa treatments in Bangkok to pamper yourself this September – October

Phuket3 hours ago

Phuket’s governor Narong braces for storm Noru

Politics4 hours ago

Royal defamation case dropped against Thai activist

Myanmar4 hours ago

OnlyFans star sentenced to six years in prison in Myanmar

Protests5 hours ago

Activists plan protests across Bangkok

Crime5 hours ago

Woman kidnapped in Malaysia found in southern Thailand

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Phuket2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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