Crimes by English teachers going down?

This post by Gusts of Popular Feeling almost got by me over the weekend (original story in Korean):

[T]he National Assembly’s Council of Education, Science and Technology
member Lee Gun-hyeon of the GNP announced on September 24 the number of native speaking English teachers who have committed crimes over the past three years. Over three years the total is 274, with 114 in 2007, 99 in 2008, and 61 up to
August of this year.

By type, at 84, most were arrested for violence, 57 for drugs, 17 for ‘intellectual crimes’ (likely forgery), 10 for rape, and 7 for theft. As for violence, cases had risen from 22 in 2007, 38 in 2008, and 24 to August this year.

61 crimes through August (2/3 of the year) projects to 91.5 - call it 92 if you like - for the year of 2009. Despite having MORE foreign English teachers, the number of crimes committed by them has DROPPED. While these numbers by themselves may not convince you how rarely it happens, Matt has done a more complete workup of the numbers - numbers reported by the government and talked about in Korean news.

Is it time to start quoting facts and changing people's minds? Here are a few key ones to memorize from Matt's post:

In that case, the statistics reveal that 114 teachers were arrested in 2007 and 99 were arrested in 2008. So, for 2007, 114 out of 17,721 teachers were arrested - a rate of 0.64%. In 2008, 99 out of 19,771 teachers were arrested - a rate of 0.50%.

As noted in Benjamin Wagner's report to the NHRCK, "The Korean Institute of Criminology... reported that in 2007 the overall “crime rate among [all] foreigners [in Korea] was 1.4% compared with the 3.5% rate among Korean citizens.” In other words, according to Lee's own figures, the foreign English teacher crime rate (0.64%) was more than five times less than the crime rate among Koreans (3.5%) in 2007 and half the rate of other foreigners.

To recap, using 2007 numbers:
Foreign English teachers: 0.64% - about 1 out of 156 has been arrested for a crime
Foreigners living in Korea: 1.4% - about 1 out of 71 has been arrested for a crime
Native Koreans: 3.5% - about 1 out of 28 has been arrested for a crime

If I had the statistical wherewithal to take the foreign English teachers out of the second sample (all foreigners living in Korea), I'd find that the non-teachers must commit quite a few more crimes to bring the average to 1.4%. Even then, a English teacher is five times less likely to commit a crime than a Korean. Next time you're on a bus with about 30 other Koreans, think about those stats above.

And some people still think foreigners are dangerous.

Creative Commons License © Chris Backe - 2009