Letter: Amputation and the costs of crime

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Sir: The credibility of economists takes yet another step backwards with the publication of the Northumbria University study quoted in your article today, 'Amputation the answer to crime' (1 April). Has theft disappeared from the Middle East, where amputation is a possible outcome? Did hanging, before abolition, stop murders in this country? Of course not.

Behaviour is far more influenced by the approval or censure of friends: joyriders seem to gain the admiration of theirs and flourish, whereas disapproval of drunken driving by the young has reduced its incidence. But it seems we are now inured to all but the most extreme crimes, and are more likely to pay extra attention to criminals than to shun them, so they do it again.



Farnborough, Hampshire

1 April