Knife crime has been top of the agenda in recent days, for understandable reasons.
The number of teenagers murdered in London has led to a debate about the causes behind the spree of killings, and how the violence can be stopped.
There was also a fatal stabbing in West Bromwich last week, illustrating that knives are a threat in every part of the country.
But the latest annual crime figures show that violent crime has actually fallen.
And while the West Midlands did have the second highest number of knife-related offences in the country, second only to London, this provides an incomplete and potentially misleading picture.
West Midlands Police is the second-largest force in Britain, and one might reasonably expect it to record more offences than smaller forces.
The latest figures actually provide some evidence that the situation in London is not quite as bad as recent events suggest.
But leaving that aside, they certainly don’t show that the West Midlands is in the midst of a knife epidemic.
There is always a danger of appearing to suggest that knife crime doesn’t matter, or that the number of incidents which do take place is somehow acceptable.
Clearly, neither of those statements would be true, and dissuading people of all ages from carrying blades must be a priority, not only for police but for schools and local authorities.
But the raw figures which emerged in some news reports yesterday do not provide an accurate picture of the situation in the West Midlands.
The West Midlands force has received widespread praise for its work, prompted initially by fear of gun crime, which its London counterpart could do well to study.
There is no excuse for complacency, but that does not mean it is right to exaggerate the problem.
At the same time as crime figures were being published, the Home Office released its plans for reform of the police service.
One of the proposals is to make forces more accountable by appointing directly-elected representatives to oversee it.
This is a fine idea in theory, but isn’t it what councillors already do?