Does Philadelphia have a ‘burqa crisis’?

Daniel Pipes has written an article claiming that his home town of Philadelphia has “become the capital of the Western world as regards female Islamic garb as an accessory to crime”.

According to Pipes, “the Philadelphia region has witnessed 14 robberies (or attempted robberies) of financial institutions in the past six years in which the thieves relied on an Islamic full-body cover”. His solution? “Ban the niqab and burqa in public places, as the national governments in France and Belgium have recently done.”

Joel Mathis points out some flaws in this argument:

It’s important to understand, though, that Pipes’ “crisis” looks a little less disturbing when looked at closely. He justifies a ban because, by his count, at least 14 robberies have been committed in Philadelphia using Muslim garb … since 2007. That’s less than three a year. If you need more perspective, consider this: The 14 robberies that Pipes counts adds up to maybe one really busy shift for the police department. In the 28-day period ending Feb. 17, there were 507 robbery reports to city police – if 14 of those robberies had been committed by burqa-wearing assailants, that wouldn’t even be 3 percent of the total. Trying to calculate what those 14 cases look like compared to six or more years of robberies? You couldn’t even see a number that small with the naked eye.

So one doesn’t have to be politically correct to respond to Pipes by saying we don’t have a “burqa crisis.” All one needs, really, is math.

The Philly Post, 26 February 2013