Alex's Outlook

Saturday, August 16, 2003

US v. European Crime

To follow up on the discussion under Good news on guns, which drifted (and I do mean drifted) into comparisons of US and European crime and the unfortunate concentration of violent criminal activity in the US in the black community, I ran across a summary of statistics at the Useful Fools blog. You really should read the whole thing, but the relevant points are:

Here are Interpol 2001 crime statistics (rate per 100,000):
4161 - US
7736 - Germany
6941 - France
9927 - England and Wales

Thus the US has a substantially lower crime rate than the major European countries!

. . .

[The US] murder rate is high largely due to the multicultural nature of our society. Inner city blacks, members of a distinct subculture, have a vastly higher criminal and victim homicide rate than our society as an average:

Homicide Offender Rate/100,000 by Race in US (2000):

3.4 - White
25.8 - Black
3.2 - Other

It is often hypothesized that blacks are overrepresented in murder statistics due to racism on the part of police and the justice system. If this were true, one would expect that the race of victims would have significantly different distribution than the race of the perpetrators, but this is not the case:

Homicide Victim Rate/100,000 by Race in US (2000):

3.3 - White
20.5 - Black
2.7 - Other

Thus if you remove homicides committed by blacks (total: 21862, Blacks:9316), and assume a proportionality between number of offenders and number of offenses, you can extrapolate US homicide offender rate of only 2.6/100,000, lower than Germany (3.27) and France (3.91).

I asked John Moore, the author of the Useful Fools post, to give us links to the studies or data that he used, but he replied that he had gathered the numbers from a Interpol and FBI stats without keeping the links. Tsk, tsk, John! I had hoped to track down the data myself, but have been unable to do so, and am unlikely to get a chance anytime soon. The data is consistent with a number of other items that I have read over the years, so I think its legit, but caveat blogster.

The data can be read to support any number of things, as I am sure the comment mob will demonstrate soon. I tend to look at it as consistent with my preconceptions (yet another reason why I think that the data is probably good - it makes me look smart!). First and foremost, though, I think it refutes the notion that "cowboy" America is a violent and dangerous place. It is also consistent with the view that, in America at least, more gun control equals more crime, as the high crime areas (large urban centers) labor for the most part under the very restrictive gun controls (and have for decades).

In short, it is safer to be free and self-reliant (that is, armed) than to trust the state to provide safety and security from crime.

(Courtesy of


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