Crime is more pervasive in Britain than in the USA

Copyright 2002 by Hugo S. Cunningham
file first posted 20030713
latest update 20030713

The following is adapted from a Usenet posting:

On Thu, 12 Sep 2002 01:35:45 GMT, "Dave O'Neill" wrote:

>"ThorII" wrote in message [...]
>> You are six times more likely to be mugged in London now than in New >York..
>The converse is true on murders though.

But murders are so rare in either the USA *or* Britain that they do not force people to modify behavior. In contrast, robberies (muggings), assaults, and burglaries are so common in Britain that they do modify behavior, keeping honest people inside much more than in the USA. A 1/50 chance of being assaulted means a lot more to me than a 1/16000 chance of being murdered, especially since even that 1/16000 can be reduced to European levels simply by staying out of a small number of urban neighborhoods, at least at night.

1995 figures, UK and US, crimes per 1,000,000 populaton
(Note: for ease of comparison,I have converted statistics from 1/1000 and 1/100,000 to 1/1,000,000)

type of crimeUKUSAsource
robbery 7,800 5,700#1
assault 20,000 9,000#1
burglary 80,000 42,000#1
Motor veh. theft 24,000 10,000#1
murder - 58#2 (for 1999)
murder 18 -#3



Incidentally, the 2/1 UK/USA ratio for burglaries shown above is even worse for Britain, because about half of British burglaries are against *occupied* homes, while in American the ratio is a mere 15%, so rare that such burglaries are headlined as "home invasions." The difference, of course, stems from liberal US gun laws; American burglars take great care to avoid the possibility of encountering an armed homeowner.

--Hugo S. Cunningham

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