UK has highest violent crime rate in EU, higher rate than US and even South Africa

From the UK Daily Mail in 2009:
Britain's violent crime record is worse than any other country in the European union, it has been revealed.
Official crime figures show the UK also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa - widely considered one of the world's most dangerous countries.
The figures comes on the day new Home Secretary Alan Johnson makes his first major speech on crime, promising to be tough on loutish behaviour. . . .
The figures, compiled from reports released by the European Commission and United Nations, also show: 

  • The UK has the second highest overall crime rate in the EU.
  • It has a higher homicide rate than most of our western European neighbours, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
  • The UK has the fifth highest robbery rate in the EU.
  • It has the fourth highest burglary rate and the highest absolute number of burglaries in the EU, with double the number of offences than recorded in Germany and France. . . .
In the UK, there are 2,034 offences per 100,000 people, way ahead of second-placed Austria with a rate of 1,677. . . .
For a much more up to date and detailed discussion see this here.

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Blogger brendan said...

John, it appears South Africa's murder rate is 2,000% higher than the UK's. Yet UK has higher violent crime rates? Clearly there's some cross-country measurement differences. There's no chance the UK is close to as violent as SA. Misleading readers a bit here.

12/14/2012 10:57 AM  
Blogger Chas said...

An armed society is a polite society, and then there's what's left of Britain.

12/14/2012 4:56 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Did you read the rest of the article where they talked about differences in reporting standards? The UK is very liberal in what they classify as violent crime, including offenses that would not be classed that way in the US. Raw numbers really don't mean squat until the differences are accounted for.

12/15/2012 4:56 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The UK's standards for calling an offence a violent crime are quite liberal compared to other countries. In particular, comparing raw numbers to the US can be extremely misleading, as low level assaults, for example, end up in the UK stats but not in US stats as "violent crimes." Got to get apples to apples to have it mean much.

12/15/2012 5:01 PM  
Blogger HobbesRuls said...

@brendan: Math please... there was 20 times more people killed, that does not equal a 2,000% difference in the murder rate. Rate is normally expressed in occurrences per 100,000 people. I couldn't find data from 2012 for South Africa. From 2011 data the S. Africa rate was 66.9 and the UK rate report varies by source between 0.9(England-Wales only) and 1.2 (including Scotland etc.). That works out to a 98.2% difference which is huge but not equal to 2,000%.

Standards vary as does reporting of crimes. The more stable a Country is the more likely the crime will be reported to the authorities, which drives the rate up.

On the other side, individual Departments, Counties, States, and Countries try to make themselves "look better" by presenting their stats in the best possible light. All these figures have to be taken as best case when self-reported. Understanding the shift comparing stable and unstable locations is very important as well.

A telling Political item to note this is the 4th Home Sec. in the UK under this Administration. I'm guessing this report is not far off the mark for reported crimes.

S. Africa (#3) with all the turmoil going on there should have a rate 2 to 4 times higher than any of the other Countries on the list, yet even if you double its rate to account for under/over reporting the UK and Austria fail the test. Finland on down make the grade of 25% or less, if you double the rate for S. Africa, yet Canada, Belgium, and Sweden do not!

The most important thing to note is NONE of the 9 Countries sharing the list with S. Africa allow individuals to carry a concealed handgun for self-defense and most have outright bans on some or all guns.

If banning and controlling firearms was an effective means of stopping violent crime would ANY of these Countries be on the Top Ten List for Most Violent Crimes? Shouldn't they be on the Least Violent Crimes list?

The Countries on the list are in order; UK, Austria, S. Africa, Sweden, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France.

Let's ignore S. Africa for the moment in order to compare Developed European to Developed European. The last 3 managed a rate of 33-25% of the UK's. Throwing the US into the mix we find the rate is 23% of the UK's.

Even though our violent crime is a fraction of the gun hating countries in Europe, they along with the UN have the gall to say we are the ones with the problem. Maybe the rest of the World isn't as good at math as they claim to be.

12/20/2012 11:33 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

What is classed as violent crime in the UK?

I don't know the "limits" myself but I do know that when a person who was adjusting his satnav while also reversing onto a cycle lane/footpath from his driveway and knocked me off my bike (i was unharmed and neither my bike nor his car was damaged) he said we should report it to the police just in case anyone driving by does, it was recorded as a violent crime and he was charged (which is stupid, accidents do happen and I say that even though I have been injured in other instances).

So there a UK violent crime.

1/08/2013 4:37 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Steve:
The reason that I provide a link at the end of the post is to exactly deal with this type of question. There is something called the International Crime Victimization Survey that was created in part to help ensure that crimes were defined the same way across countries. I have the link to that discussion part what down the related post. I hope that this helps.

1/08/2013 5:53 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The statistics are definitley different when compared across countries. When further examined, American crime was about 7 times higher than the UK.

2/01/2013 1:15 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Hassan Bukhari:

That is simply not accurate. The violent crime rate in the UK is clearly higher than in the US.


2/01/2013 3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Hassan Bukhari Making a statement without support is not a valid refutation of the data. It's very much like saying "I know I'm right, so don't confuse me with the facts." This is not the first time the UK Press has publicly admitted their Countries failure to control violent crime. In the late 90's when tourists were being specifically targeted in Florida the papers in London admitted that it was still safer in Florida than in the UK.

2/02/2013 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this blog article a joke?

The UK does not have a higher violent crime rate than the US and South Africa.

The UK has a murder rate of 1.2 per 100,00, the US has a murder rate of 4.7 per 100,000, and South Africa has a murder rate of 31.8 per 100,000

Your numbers are distorted because you count all the supposed violent offences reported by the UK, which is distorted since different countries count offences differently.

Crime statistics that rely upon how a country reports and the rate of reporting crime wouldn't be an objective measure of anything.

Burglaries, robberies, attacks, and other supposed 'violent crime' counted relies heavily upon the rate of reporting and don't necessarily involve much violence.

We know that the UK has less murders and a lower murder rate, we know that murder laws are pretty similar worldwide, and we also know that murders are difficult to falsely report and don't rely much upon the rate of reporting.

So the homicide rate is a much more objective measure of crime than counting supposed violent 'offences' reported by a country.

Statistics that rely upon the rate of reporting, a country's laws, and are easy to falsely report are unreliable objective measures.

6/06/2013 10:17 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Itsnobody:
Can you read? The UK Daily Mail article talked about either all violent crime or all crime. The article writes: "Official crime figures show the UK also has a worse rate for all types of violence than the U.S. and even South Africa." As to the problems with reported crime, I have pointed to the UN survey on crimes is done for precisely that reason and it shows the same finding. See this for 2000 for example

6/07/2013 3:49 AM  

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