Mapping crime in Birmingham: lap dance clubs associated with violence?

Birmingham City Council has today been considering the relicensing of Sunset Club and then, following that, the wider SEV policy for the city. 27 of (I think) 41 respondents wanted fewer than 12 SEVs in the city, which is the current licensed number. Despite the pathetic response rates (41 of 1m residents) this could be used to justify a new policy that imposes a lower limit on club numbers Once I have news of these I will update this entry but for now thought it was interesting to present the map of crimes around clubs included in agenda papers.

This shows that there are clusters of violence in an area of inner Birmingham, and that some of this concentrates in areas of night-life where SEVs are present. The document suggests that the number of these incidents directly attributable (or should that be ‘associated with’?) specific SEVs is quite low. There is of course no necessary reason why correlation implies causation, and the major areas where clubs are located in Birmingham (Broad Street and the Pershore Road/Chinatown area) are both well-established areas saturated with bars, clubs and take-aways. The police in this case are not making any specific recommendation in reduction in number of clubs in the city.
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However, all this is given a more sensationalist spin in the local media, which completely misinterprets the data to suggest 500 crimes within 50m of clubs, including 265 sexual crimes – which is approximately 30 times greater than what is reported. Terrible reporting courtesy of the Birmingham Mail (a generally awful paper in my opinion that carried some really harmful reporting of racial crime in the past, as geographer Susan Smith showed in the 1980s).