Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

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Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #1  Postby Nessie » Thu Mar 08, 2012 9:52 pm

I could not fit the whole title into the subject so it is

Why, out of first world countries, is the USAs homicide rate so high?

http://chartsbin.com/view/1454

In 2008 out of 100,000 the USA is 5.22, the UK is 1.57, New Zealand is 1.25, Switzerland is 0.72 and even the country closest to the USA, Canada is 1.67. Finland is second after the USA with 2.49, still less than half.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #2  Postby Blacksamwell » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:07 pm

Why is the rate of homicide and other violent crime falling so consistently over the most recent years?  What are the available theories for this?
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #3  Postby Blacksamwell » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:11 pm

Why are the rates in different states and cities within the U.S. so variable?

The U.S. is a big and diverse place.  If you exclude the worst 10% of the geographic area as far as crime rates go the remaining 90% of the country has crime rates comparable or lower than other western nations.  (I'm making generalized guesses here.  Don't expect my figures to be precise.  We can adjust these numbers if need be, but you get the idea.)

What's going on in the high crime areas that make things so different than the other 90% of the nation?
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #4  Postby Flash » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:32 am

Answer: killing people in America is second only in popularity to baseball? and the popularity of baseball is going down.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #5  Postby Tom-Palven » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:07 am

Am I reading this right, or does Honduras have a current homicide rate about 20 times higher than the US?  (Bazeboll hov bean berry, berry gude to me.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... icide_rate
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #6  Postby Nessie » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:06 pm

Blacksamwell wrote:Why are the rates in different states and cities within the U.S. so variable?

The U.S. is a big and diverse place.  If you exclude the worst 10% of the geographic area as far as crime rates go the remaining 90% of the country has crime rates comparable or lower than other western nations.  (I'm making generalized guesses here.  Don't expect my figures to be precise.  We can adjust these numbers if need be, but you get the idea.)

What's going on in the high crime areas that make things so different than the other 90% of the nation?


That is the same in other first world countries as well. There are variable rates and poor urban will usually have higher rates than rich rural.

Why is it higher overall, by some margine in the USA?
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #7  Postby Austin Harper » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:12 pm

Sam's point was that the US is significantly larger both in land area and population than most other First World countries and you would expect there to be large variations across it.  Maybe it would be better to compare individual states with other First World countries.  When I get some time today or tomorrow I'll make a list of homicide rates by country for every country shown as First World on Wikipedia but with the three large English-speaking countries (USA, Canada, and Australia) broken up by state/province if people are interested.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #8  Postby Nessie » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:07 pm

The statistics are per 100,000, so size is irrelvant. But if you really wnat to do it regionally OK, but compare like with like. So London with NY and rural Scotland with Montana.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #9  Postby Austin Harper » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:39 pm

Size definitely matters.  There are significant regional differences.  The United States is over twice (2.191 times) the size of the entire EU.  Canada is also over twice (2.175 times) the size of the EU and Australia is almost twice (1.822 times) as big .  If you can understand the differences between European countries, why can't you understand the difference between American states?
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #10  Postby Nessie » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:47 pm

The statistics are measured per 100,000 of the population. That way they account for differences in size and so size is irrelevant. Measuring something per 100,000 has been used since Victorian times so as a means to measure crime statistics so as to avoid distorting the figures.

The same is done with health statistics as well.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #11  Postby fromthehills » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:50 pm

I showed Colorado compared to New Zealand in another thread. NZ has a far higher violent crime rate, many more break ins, and just as many homicides as Colorado. Not per 100,000, but more, even with Colorado having a million more people.


Interesting that abortion an concealment of pregnancy are illegal in Scotland. Is this true?
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #12  Postby fromthehills » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:55 pm

Nessie wrote:The statistics are measured per 100,000 of the population. That way they account for differences in size and so size is irrelevant. Measuring something per 100,000 has been used since Victorian times so as a means to measure crime statistics so as to avoid distorting the figures.

The same is done with health statistics as well.


Yea, but you missed the point. I could also compare the crime rate of my small town with Los Angeles, but that would be pointless.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #13  Postby Aztexan » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:57 pm

I dispute Nessie's claim that America is a first world country. :senile:
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #14  Postby Austin Harper » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:08 pm

Nessie: I will still measure homicides per 100,000, I don't know why you think I wouldn't.  It's just that instead of bunching all of the US into one group I'll be splitting it into 52 (including Puerto Rico and Washington, DC).  For a quick look at how much it can vary, check out this map.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #15  Postby Nessie » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:15 pm

fromthehills wrote:I showed Colorado compared to New Zealand in another thread. NZ has a far higher violent crime rate, many more break ins, and just as many homicides as Colorado. Not per 100,000, but more, even with Colorado having a million more people.


Interesting that abortion an concealment of pregnancy are illegal in Scotland. Is this true?


What is so wrong with comparing country to country? I think you guys are avoiding the issue. Why not compare New Zealand which has rural and city ares with New York? Then your argument fails, which it did anyway. As I said all countries have higher and lower crime areas.

Abortion is not illegal (except in that not anyone can do it and there is a minimum and maximum time limit). Concealment of pregnancy is, but it is an Act from 1809 and goddness knows when it was last used.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #16  Postby fromthehills » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:18 pm

I'm also looking into Scotland compared to Colorado, now, but I have to go out to the shop and make noise so I look busy.

So far, Scotland and Colorado are comparable, with most of our crime happening in Denver and Edinburgh. Our total homicides are 120, for 2010. Scotland's is 114 for 2009. But I have to verify this with other sources.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #17  Postby fromthehills » Fri Mar 09, 2012 5:20 pm

Nessie wrote:
fromthehills wrote:I showed Colorado compared to New Zealand in another thread. NZ has a far higher violent crime rate, many more break ins, and just as many homicides as Colorado. Not per 100,000, but more, even with Colorado having a million more people.


Interesting that abortion an concealment of pregnancy are illegal in Scotland. Is this true?


What is so wrong with comparing country to country? I think you guys are avoiding the issue. Why not compare New Zealand which has rural and city ares with New York? Then your argument fails, which it did anyway. As I said all countries have higher and lower crime areas.

Abortion is not illegal (except in that not anyone can do it and there is a minimum and maximum time limit). Concealment of pregnancy is, but it is an Act from 1809 and goddness knows when it was last used.


My home state, Colorado, also has rural and urban areas, and a comparable population to both NZ, and Scotland.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #18  Postby Nessie » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:25 pm

So the relevant question is what is Colorado doing that the rest of the USA is not.
Last edited by Nessie on Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #19  Postby Austin Harper » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:07 pm

Ok, here is a list of homicide rates per 100,000 in First World countries (as defined by Wikipedia's First World article) with American, Canadian, and Australian states/provinces/territories separated.  All data is for 2009 because that year had the most information, except Australia's data is from 2008 because I couldn't find a 2009 source.  Data comes from the following sources:
Spoiler:
Area/Rate
Prince Edward Island        0.0
Newfoundland and Labrador        0.2
Iceland        0.3
Japan        0.4
Austria        0.5
Norway        0.6
Switzerland        0.7
Victoria        0.8
Australian Capital Territory        0.9
Germany        0.9
Spain        0.9
Netherlands        0.9
Tasmania        1.0
Italy        1.0
Sweden        1.0
Denmark        1.0
Luxembourg        1.0
New Hampshire        1.1
Quebec        1.1
South Australia        1.1
France        1.1
United Kingdom        1.2
Portugal        1.2
Vermont        1.3
New South Wales        1.3
Queensland        1.3
Australia        1.3
Idaho        1.4
Iowa        1.4
Ontario        1.4
Western Australia        1.4
Greece        1.4
Ireland        1.4
Nova Scotia        1.6
New Brunswick        1.6
Belgium        1.7
Hawaii        1.8
Minnesota        1.8
Utah        1.8
Canada        1.8
Israel        2.1
North Dakota        2.2
New Zealand        2.2
Maine        2.3
Finland        2.3
Alberta        2.6
Massachusetts        2.7
Nebraska        2.7
Oregon        2.7
British Columbia        2.7
Rhode Island        2.8
Washington        2.9
Wisconsin        2.9
South Korea        2.9
Wyoming        3.1
Connecticut        3.2
Saskatchewan        3.5
Montana        3.6
Taiwan        3.6
Alaska        3.7
New Jersey        3.8
South Dakota        3.8
Turkey        3.8
Colorado        3.9
New York        4.3
Kansas        4.5
Northwest Territories        4.6
Ohio        4.7
Manitoba        4.7
Kentucky        4.9
Virginia        4.9
Delaware        5.1
West Virginia        5.1
Pennsylvania        5.2
Indiana        5.3
California        5.7
Nevada        5.8
Arizona        5.9
Yukon        5.9
North Carolina        6.0
Florida        6.1
Texas        6.1
Georgia        6.5
Michigan        6.6
Oklahoma        6.7
Illinois         6.8
Missouri        7.1
Arkansas        7.6
South Carolina        7.6
Tennessee        7.9
Maryland        8.0
Northern Territory        8.2
Alabama        8.7
New Mexico        8.7
Mississippi        9.3
Louisiana        12.8
Namibia        12.8
Nanavut        18.6
Washington, DC        22.5
Puerto Rico        23.4
South Africa        34.0
I also put the data up on a Google Doc so it's more legible.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #20  Postby Nessie » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:43 pm

So the answer for the US is in the US and for states with high rates to copy those with lower rates.

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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #21  Postby fromthehills » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:05 am

Austin Harper wrote:Ok, here is a list of homicide rates per 100,000 in First World countries (as defined by Wikipedia's First World article) with American, Canadian, and Australian states/provinces/territories separated.  All data is for 2009 because that year had the most information, except Australia's data is from 2008 because I couldn't find a 2009 source.  Data comes from the following sources:
Spoiler:
Area/Rate
Prince Edward Island        0.0
Newfoundland and Labrador        0.2
Iceland        0.3
Japan        0.4
Austria        0.5
Norway        0.6
Switzerland        0.7
Victoria        0.8
Australian Capital Territory        0.9
Germany        0.9
Spain        0.9
Netherlands        0.9
Tasmania        1.0
Italy        1.0
Sweden        1.0
Denmark        1.0
Luxembourg        1.0
New Hampshire        1.1
Quebec        1.1
South Australia        1.1
France        1.1
United Kingdom        1.2
Portugal        1.2
Vermont        1.3
New South Wales        1.3
Queensland        1.3
Australia        1.3
Idaho        1.4
Iowa        1.4
Ontario        1.4
Western Australia        1.4
Greece        1.4
Ireland        1.4
Nova Scotia        1.6
New Brunswick        1.6
Belgium        1.7
Hawaii        1.8
Minnesota        1.8
Utah        1.8
Canada        1.8
Israel        2.1
North Dakota        2.2
New Zealand        2.2
Maine        2.3
Finland        2.3
Alberta        2.6
Massachusetts        2.7
Nebraska        2.7
Oregon        2.7
British Columbia        2.7
Rhode Island        2.8
Washington        2.9
Wisconsin        2.9
South Korea        2.9
Wyoming        3.1
Connecticut        3.2
Saskatchewan        3.5
Montana        3.6
Taiwan        3.6
Alaska        3.7
New Jersey        3.8
South Dakota        3.8
Turkey        3.8
Colorado        3.9
New York        4.3
Kansas        4.5
Northwest Territories        4.6
Ohio        4.7
Manitoba        4.7
Kentucky        4.9
Virginia        4.9
Delaware        5.1
West Virginia        5.1
Pennsylvania        5.2
Indiana        5.3
California        5.7
Nevada        5.8
Arizona        5.9
Yukon        5.9
North Carolina        6.0
Florida        6.1
Texas        6.1
Georgia        6.5
Michigan        6.6
Oklahoma        6.7
Illinois         6.8
Missouri        7.1
Arkansas        7.6
South Carolina        7.6
Tennessee        7.9
Maryland        8.0
Northern Territory        8.2
Alabama        8.7
New Mexico        8.7
Mississippi        9.3
Louisiana        12.8
Namibia        12.8
Nanavut        18.6
Washington, DC        22.5
Puerto Rico        23.4
South Africa        34.0
I also put the data up on a Google Doc so it's more legible.


I notice that this number for Colorado is far higher than anything I found. So maybe I'm wrong. But I have to question your number and my number, and why is there such a difference? It seems your number is based on 190 murders, I found 120 murders. Then, I just saw 157 murders. I also started looking into how homicides are reported, and how that effects the stats. Still working on that.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #22  Postby fromthehills » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:40 am

I have brought up the idea that our lack of education in many areas in the US, and our 8 year setback on education is a big part of our issue. If you look at crime rates in states known for better education you'll see less of a crime rate. Putting people in prison for victimless crimes, to our discredit, not only leads to an over-population of the prison system, but sets shorter sentences for violent offenders. It also may affect those that were once not violent to become so, once back on the streets. We also have a very bad gang problem. Both prison gangs and street gangs,vying for drug turf. These are angry young men, self-disenfranchised, and perhaps disenfranchised by society, due really to lack of education, and access to it. They are willing to kill for cash and drugs. Our penal system has not done anything to dissuade this. This is all reflected in our high murder rate.

I was an angry young man, once. I graduated from an inner city school in El Paso, Tx. I have fought gangsters, thieves, and thugs. The education system failed me as much as I failed to strive for a better education. I joined the US Army, infantry, to go to Iraq in 1990, because I thought it would be safer than where I was. I've been shot at, and cut, and didn't have the idea to get educated. Too much "real" {!#%@} going on. I've seen murder, drug smuggling, gun smuggling, and I've run from Mexican police. I understand a little about it. As I educated myself more, at least to become literate enough to understand how the world works, the less prone to violence I became. I worked at it. The majority of the punk asses that kill eachother don't even know to work at it. I was lucky, you could say, to be somewhat intelligent, and to have a conscience. The one's that have crossed the line between a decent human that makes mistakes to full on murderer, or would be murderer, isn't so lucky. And as a whole, we aren't doing ourselves any favors with neither our education system, nor our penal system.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #23  Postby Blacksamwell » Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:46 am

Should we start a new thread that asks why the UK's rates are so high in comparison to its European neighbors?  What is the UK doing wrong that the others are not?

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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #24  Postby Blacksamwell » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:00 am

Nessie wrote:What is so wrong with comparing country to country?

Well, according to your government agencies since each country tallies their figures differently you never get a true apples to apples comparison.

I ran across this wise bit of advice among the data published by the UK some time in the last week when I should have been working.  I didn't save the link so I can't cite it now.

But I suppose it would be fair to ask what differences there are in the ways different countries tally their figures.  I read somewhere that the UK doesn't count homicides committed by young people and that they'll exclude certain classifications where they call it "violent assault that resulted in death" or something of the sort.  If those acts are labelled homicide in one place but excluded in the next then making comparisons with the resulting figures will be flawed exercise from the beginning.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #25  Postby Blacksamwell » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:03 am

Did anyone else notice that the US and the UK both shared the same general trend of rising crime rates from the 1960's through to the first decade of the 2000's and then both peaked and that both have been falling since then?  The US trend peaked and began going down 5 to 7 years before the UK trend peaked and began falling.

That would suggest that the driving forces behind violent crime are the same in both countries.  That whatever either is doing "right" or "wrong", that we're both riding together through the same wider trends.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #26  Postby Nessie » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:15 am

The reason for looking at homicide figures is that there is a very high instance of reporting such. Comparing theft or criminal damge, where there is often huge levels of under reporting and many classifications and yes a compariosn would be harder.

I am assuming that if someone dies and someone else is charged over their death, from murder to culpable homicide then it will be recorded and produce the overall figure shown.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #27  Postby fromthehills » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:26 am

Right. I'm looking at Europe as a whole, right now, to compare population and diversity to the US, as well as land mass. That Croatia looks interesting, will probably bring the stats up a bit. It's hard to find the stats on homicide, as a whole, for Europe, because they all report things differently. Then of course you have Serbia, and the Czech Republic. Lots of stuff happening over the same amount of population and land mass as the US.

What? Being Scottish excludes one from being part of the EU? Okay, I see, Hmm, nope. Insofar as I am excluded from Chicago's murder rate living in Colorado, perhaps, but not any less than Scotland from other EU members.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #28  Postby Nessie » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:15 pm

fromthehills wrote:Right. I'm looking at Europe as a whole, right now, to compare population and diversity to the US, as well as land mass. That Croatia looks interesting, will probably bring the stats up a bit. It's hard to find the stats on homicide, as a whole, for Europe, because they all report things differently. Then of course you have Serbia, and the Czech Republic. Lots of stuff happening over the same amount of population and land mass as the US.

What? Being Scottish excludes one from being part of the EU? Okay, I see, Hmm, nope. Insofar as I am excluded from Chicago's murder rate living in Colorado, perhaps, but not any less than Scotland from other EU members.


You are now blatantly trying to fiddle the figures. I do not believe that you do not understand how measuring per 100,000 works.
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Re: Why is the USAs homicide rate so high?

Post #29  Postby slee » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:21 pm

While stopping by Ernie's House of Whoopass this morning, I saw he posted several graphs depicting firearm deaths for the US by state, it doesn't provide the source of the data though.
http://ehowa.com/pictures/
*CAUTION* some images on that page are NSFW

EDIT: In his daily editorial he states where they came from:
"Anyway, the f*cking chuckleheads over at the Brady Campaign released their annual State Gun Law Scorecard and much to my delight"
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