11 FEBRUARY 1938, Page 6

Arc murders getting commoner ? The casual reader of the

daily papers can hardly avoid the impression that they are. But then I think he has always had that impression, as much when the figures failed to warrant it as when they did ; murders have a way of catching the eye and evoking the mental comment of " still one more." All the same, the tendency in the last three or four years has pretty certainly been in the wrong direction. The figures for 1937 are not yet available ; they should be instructive when they come. But here are a few I have obtained for 1935 and 1936 respec- tively ; in each case the first figure is for 1935 Cases of murder known to the police, 87 and 99. Arrests for murder, 41 and 64. Committals for trial, 43 and 58. Death sentences, 17 (one quashed) and 23.

Executions, 8 and 9.

The large discrepancy between the number of committals and the number of executions is due partly to acquittals, partly to reprieves and partly to findings of insanity.

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