Murder rate — a look at the facts |

Murder rate — a look at the facts

Other Voices
Jerry Henderson

Carol, of Washington, wrote a very literate piece a while back about why she supports gun ownership. She references several sites that she thinks backs up her claim that violent crime is higher in the U.K. than the U.S. even though gun ownership is more restricted in the U.K. than in the U.S.

When I read that in her article, I thought, "Really?" So I checked the sites she referenced and continued to dig deeper. I found this. Going around the Internet is a piece that makes the claim that the U.K. is a much more violent place than the U.S., and the sites that Carol mentions are given as the proof. Based on what I found, I doubt that Carol went to those sites. That's because you'd have to go deep into them to find relevant crime statistics.

Searching more, I found that it's difficult to compare reported crimes from various countries because there are varying definitions of what constitutes violent crime and varying degrees of how much crimes are reported. I decided to break violent crime down into smaller parts. Most people would agree that homicide, rape and assault are violent crimes. Even with this breakdown, there are variations around the world as to what constitutes a rape or an assault. With this understanding in mind, I found a site that breaks down various crimes by country. This is the site: Feel free to check it to see if I'm reporting the information correctly:

Here's what I found. These are rates per 100,000 people.

Homicide: U.S. 4.2, U.K. 1.3; rape: U.S. 27, U.K. 27; assault: U.S. 262, U.K. 730; robbery, U.S. 133, U.K. 137.

You can see that our murder rate is much higher. Rape is the same. The assault rate is higher in the U.K., and robberies are about the same. Carol tried to make the point that in the U.K., even with its more restrictive gun ownership policies, violent crime is more prevalent. Turns out that is not true. The odds of you being murdered in the U.S. are much greater than in the U.K. The odds of you being assaulted are much greater in the U.K., but it's unlikely that you'll be assaulted with a gun.

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Jerry Henderson lives in Grass Valley.

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