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UK vs. US violence

So there's this website (a one post blog), claiming to dispel the "myth" that the UK is more violent than the US. It talks a bit about the methodology problems of different definitions, and uses both police reports and crime surveys. It calculates per capita rates a bit oddly, but seems okay. The summaries, trying to compare like to like:

You are thus 1.1x (135.7 / 113.7) more likely to suffer robbery in the UK than in the US.

You are thus 4.03x (4.6 / 1.14) more likely to be murdered in the US than in the UK.

You are thus 1.27x (58.3 / 45.8) more likely to be knifed in the UK than in the US.

You are thus 35.2x (3.17 / 0.09) more likely to be shot dead in the US than in the UK. [I haven't been checking all the math, but that actually seems low, we have more gun homicides than his figure.]

You are thus 1.02x (26.7 / 26) more likely to be raped as a female in the US than in the UK.

You are thus 6.9x (241.05 / 34.7) more likely to suffer aggravated assault in the US than in the UK.

Also two non-violent ones:

You are thus 1.52x (702.1 / 460.1) more likely to suffer burglary in the US than in the UK.

You are thus 1.29x (229.5 / 176.9) more likely to suffer theft of a vehicle in the US than in the UK.

So, more likely to be killed or shot-killed in the US; we knew that. (You're also a bit more likely to be killed even without a gun in the US than in the UK, roughly 1.4 to 1.05), More likely to suffer property crime in the US, but those don't count here. Rape is about equal, FWIW. Somewhat more likely to be knifed or robbed in the UK, that's not good for them. And massively more likely to be assaulted in the US.

Except that if you look carefully, the definitions are still incomparable. The UK is using Grievous Bodily Harm, which as far as I can tell requires actual serious injury. Meanwhile the US's aggravated assault requires no injury at all! An assault is aggravated if it results in serious injury *or* if it involved a weapon that could have resulted in serious injury: if I slash at or shoot at you, that's agg assault, even if I fail completely and you're unarmed.

Comparing those seems... poor. Completely invalid, even.

I tried writing the listed e-mail address, but it bounced; the thing seems abandoned, not to mention anonymous, for all that someone slung it around in a recent online debate.

See the comment count unavailable DW comments at http://mindstalk.dreamwidth.org/446644.html#comments


Damien Sullivan

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