A uniquely American problem

The United States is reeling from another deadly mass shooting – this time at a high school in Florida.  And as usual, everyone on social media has retreated into their corners, with gun-rights enthusiasts insisting that the prevalence of and easy access to firearms is not the reason for America’s high rates of gun-related crime.

If lax gun laws aren’t the problem, than the only orther explanation is that Americans are intrinsically more violent that their Canadian or European cousins.  But it turns out that, once you remove guns from the equation, they aren’t.

This report, which compares crime statistics from OECD countries, shows that in 2012 the United States had an intentional homicide rate of 5.0 per 100,000 population.  Canada’s homicide rate was 1.8, and most Western European countries were even lower.

For other criminal offences, though, the American rate was in line with that of other Western countries.  In 2012 its rate of reported rapes was just barely ahead of Britain, and far lower than that of Australia or Sweden:

Screenshot from 2018-02-14 22-19-18

Robbery was less prevalent in the United States than in several European nations:

Screenshot from 2018-02-14 22-21-21.png

The American assault rate was middle-of-the-pack:

Screenshot from 2018-02-14 22-22-34

And their rate of vehicle theft was even lower than Canada’s:

Screenshot from 2018-02-14 22-23-38

Assuming things haven’t changed dramatically since 2012 (and I don’t think the election of Trump would affected this that much) American crime rates aren’t unusually high – except for homicide, which is over three times more common than in Canada and almost five times more common than in England and Wales.

There are many things that can affect the homicide rate, but it is deeply dishonest to deliberately exclude how easy it is to obtain a gun in America.  If you can name another reason for why homicide but only homicide is so much more common in the United States, I’m all ears.

(Stats via @notwokieleaks, who almost makes Twitter worth reading.)

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