The Major's just been round with steam jetting out from under his bonnet. He was waving a rain sodden copy of the Times.
"There you are! There you are! What have I been telling you? Look at this!"
He smacked it down on the kitchen table, and jabbed at a story headed Luxury car gang conned dealers for keys. "See!"
I started reading. "A gang of car thieves stole expensive vehicles worth a total of £2.5 million from high-profile owners after continually driving around wealthy areas of London and the Home Counties looking for targets.
Over four years the gang stole Porsches, Mercedes, Range Rovers, Aston Martins and BMWs from the streets and driveways where they were parked. A £330,000 Mercedes McLaren, which is thought to have been stolen to order, was also taken..."
I smiled. "Major, I suspect your 1976 Red Robbo engineered Jag is pretty safe. If I recall correctly, even the AA couldn't get it started."
"Not that you fool! This!" He stabbed his finger at the final para:
"The gang of five men, led by Imran Ganchi, 29, from Ilford, East London, will be sentenced next week. The four others are Shazad Hussain, of Moseley, Birmingham; Hameed Nawaz, 30, of Luton; Yusuf Yakub Kaduji, 21, from East London; and Shakeel Shoukat, 21, of East Ham."
The Major stared at me, nostrils atwitch and quivering like an expectant gun dog. "Well?"
"Well, just because they all have foreign names doesn't mean they're foreign. They might have been born here."
He snorted, but I continued. "We've got plenty of home grown car thieves. I seem to remember that car cloning gang jailed last summer were a bunch of tasty geezers from Sarf London."
"Hah!" He snatched his paper back. "If you believe that, you'll believe anything! Why, just last week we discovered most of London's murders are committed by foreigners."
And of course, he is right about that. As last Saturday's Times reported:
"Most murders in London this year were committed by foreigners. Of 47 killings between April and September where the nationality of the accused is known, 26 of the suspects — 55 per cent — are not Britons. In 19 cases the killer is believed to be British. In a further 23 cases the nationality of the killer has not been determined.
The accused hail from all corners of the world: Peru, China, Albania, Romania, Lithuania, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh...
There is growing evidence that new immigrants to Britain are killing and being killed. Hertfordshire police have had to investigate a murder linked to an Albanian clan feud, and in Cambridgeshire a Lithuanian man was burnt alive. The case was suspected to involve rivalries originating in his homeland. Polish citizens have been killed this year in Leeds, London, St Helens and Wrexham. An Albanian man was convicted over the shooting of a countryman in an Albanian social club in London, and two men were jailed in Tirana for a murder in North London. Four weeks ago Benjamin Marshall was jailed after pleading guilty to the murder of a Lithuanian citizen, Arturas Venckus, in Nottinghamshire."
Now, nodody is saying that all foreigners are lawless. But something is clearly happening. And quite apart from issues of public safety, it costs us money: eg 14.3% of our precious prison places are now occupied by foreign convicts (end-2006).
According to David Coleman, Professor of Demography at Oxford University*, the cost of migrant crime inflicted just on UK households and individuals is in excess of £3bn pa. That's a considerable sum, but it's almost certainly an underestimate of total costs. In particular, it excludes other categories of crime like drug dealing and commercial crime. If we included everything, the total cost would probably be closer to £10bn (Coleman uses a Home Office figure of £36.2bn for the total cost of crime against households and individuals; the total cost of all crime is put at around £100bn pa- eg see this blog).
And it isn't just random crimes of violence and robberies we need to worry about. Coleman says:
"The costs of crime attributable to immigration fall into two broad categories: any disproportionate level of crime committed by individual offenders of immigrant origin, and the growth of organised crime, directed to particular market sectors, run by gangs of relatively homogenous immigrant or ethnic origin:
- robbery, prostitution, firearms and drugs rings run by Jamaican ‘Yardies’
- Chinese ‘snakehead’ immigrant traffickers
- Vietnamese cannabis growers
- Romanian cash point and credit card specialists
- Turkish and Pakistani gangs competing for the heroin trade
- Albanian brothel suppliers
- Russian mafia executives and others.
While widely reported in the press as major growth industries, it is difficult to evaluate the costs involved to the economy. This ethnic dimension appears to be particularly difficult to deal with because such gangs operate outside the usual networks of informers, information and local knowledge available to the police" (see here, para 36).
All over the country, police forces are having to deal with these problems. Translation services and "community liaison" officers are just the start: some of these new groups in our midst actually need telling that we don't generally go in for carrying weapons, drink driving, and blood feuds.
The Major keeps telling me I don't understand the gravity of the situation. But I certainly understand the costs of crime. And I will remember them next time some politico tells me about the huge economic benefits of mass immigration.
*Footnote Yes, this Prof David Coleman is the same one targeted earlier this year by lefties for dismissal (see here). That was a very interesting episode because it brought out into the open the Left's real argument for unrestricted immigration. As Teresa Hayter wrote in the Grauniad:
"Coleman and [Andrew] Green never refer to what I believe are the real problem of immigration controls: the suffering, deaths and human rights abuses which are the consequence of governments' attempts to stop the movement of people. They presumably believe that this is a price worth paying for the preservation of British "national identity and cohesion". In the case of the government and other more liberal, well-meaning people, it is hard to see exactly what they think justifies the levels of brutality and inhumanity that characterise the escalating repression involved in trying to enforce immigration controls - apart, of course, from the wish to appease the racism and xenophobia drummed up by Migration Watch and their likes.
The problem with migration, if there is one, is that much of it is not free, but forced - by the actions of the rich countries the migrants go to. If the British and other governments genuinely believed that immigration was a problem, there would be things they could do, or not do, which would be more humane and possibly less expensive: they could refrain from invading other countries, stop supplying weapons to the participants in civil conflicts, to repressive regimes or anybody else, stop imposing cuts in public spending to raise money to service an unjust foreign debt, and stop stealing other countries' wealth."
Unrestricted immigration as a tool of humanitarian aid is a very different argument to the nonsense about economic benefits we've been fed by our rulers. How extraordinary they haven't told us the truth.