Friday, 5 November 2010

Perception of value

The Commissioner for Victims of Crime Louise Casey has called for the right to trial by jury to be stopped for everything other than major crimes such as rape and murder. Casey said: "Defendants should not have the right to choose to be tried by a jury over something such as the theft of a bicycle or stealing from a parking meter."

How valuable is a bicycle? Louise Casey obviously thinks that they are cheap, that cycle crime is minor and trivial. But, has she bought a bike recently? Bikes cost a lot more than the money you can get out of a parking meter, with many worth over £1000, more than some cars. Moreover, organised criminal gangs are responsible for stealing thousands of pounds worth of bikes: for their victims, this is not a trivial matter. According to the British Crime Survey, 480,000 bikes are stolen every year.

(Some of the above has come from the Cyclist's Touring Club ( For O.R. scientists, her misconception is a warning; make sure that everyone knows (or agrees) the real value of items in your studies. The classic area is placing a value on the cost of inventory. How much does it cost to store one widget for one time period?

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