There is a common understanding that numbers don't lie.
Statistics provide us with useful data to collect and analyse trends over any number of important situations.
They can collect numbers, for example, about crime rates in places like Deloraine, compared to larger centres like Launceston.
Or they can be used to measure something more intangible such as wellbeing or health outcomes. However, when taken in isolation, statistics can provide a more alarming picture than is truly the case.
Take the case of Tasmania Police's corporate report, released last week. It showed the response time for police responding to serious incidents at Deloraine have jumped significantly and crime rates have also increased. The job of policing is one of the toughest careers anyone can undertake.
Not only because it is incredibly dangerous and police routinely deal with violent offenders on a daily basis but also because the eyes of the community are always on them. As Northern District Police Commander Brett Smith said: crime rates across Tasmania fluctuate due to criminal group trends and the activities of a small number of high volume offenders. With a small population and low levels of crime, any change in the raw crime figures result in a large statistical difference, whether that be positive or negative. However, not unsurprisingly, the increase in response times and the number of incidents police are responding to at Deloraine has caused community angst, due to the gap between community expectations and the reality Tasmania Police officers find themselves under.
However, the flip side of that coin is that everyone deserves to feel safe, and access to a timely response by police is vital in that feeling of safety. Tasmania Police works hard every day to ensure the safety of the community but the reality is that while they are working often in very remote and regional communities, they can't always respond any faster than they do.
However, this shows the strength of having statistics such as this, to allow for reflection and improvement on issues, to bring that gap between community expectation and reality closer into alignment.