Friday, October 27, 2006

Some bozo who cares more about bashing America than checking his facts posted the following in the comments section in regard to the death penalty:

If your system is so great why is your crime rate, murder rate etc so high?

Buddy, if you had done any research, like say googling "us crime rate", you'd have come up with lots of interesting websites, such as the FBI Uniform Crime Report, which says the US murder rate was 5.6 per 100,000 in 2005. The murder rate has been in steady decline since it peaked in 1991, when there were about 24,700 murders in the US. In 2005 there were about 16,700 murders, which means that the number of murders in the US has declined by one-third in the last 15 years, while the population has risen from 252 million to 296 million.

Coincidentally, while the murder rate has declined by one-third since 1991, the execution rate has increased quite a bit since then. Wonder if there might be some sort of correlation? I'll bet there is.

All crime in the United States has been in steady decline since 1991, not only in percentages but in absolute numbers. The absolute number of armed robberies, aggravated assaults, and property crimes peaked in that year, while the absolute number of forcible rapes peaked in 1992.

Nation Master says that in 2005, the international rankings for murder rates per 100,000 were:

1. Colombia, 61.7
2. South Africa, 49.6
3. Jamaica, 32.4
4. Venezuela, 31.6
5. Russia, 20.1

Most of the countries among the next 15 in the rankings are pieces of the former Soviet Union.

20. Poland, 5.6
24. United States, 4.2 (no, I don't know why the stat they give is different from the FBI's)
30. Finland, 2.8
33. Portugal, 2.3
40. France, 1.7
46. United Kingdom, 1.4
48. Spain, 1.2

So the average American is twice as likely to be murdered as the average Portuguese and between three and a half times as likely as the average Spaniard, using Nation Master's figures. That's actually not so bad, when you figure that the United States is a much larger, more complex, and more diverse place than either of those countries. Most importantly, what we see here is that the US murder rate is not extremely high compared to what it could be; the US rate is much closer to European rates than to Third World hellholes.

Now let's look at male suicide rates per 100,000, again from Nation Master.

1. Lithuania, 81.9

Most of the next ten or fifteen countries were part of the former USSR.

9. Finland, 43.4
12. Belgium, 37.3
14. Austria, 34.2
16. France, 30.4
21. Japan, 25.0
25. Germany, 21.8
30. United States, 19.8
47. United Kingdom, 11.0
50. Spain, 11.0

Hmm. Interesting. Civilized, European Belgium has a suicide rate nearly twice that of the US, and France's is 50% higher. If we add up the murder and suicide figures, the violent death rate for European Finland, progressive social democratic home of Nokia, is 46.2 per 100,000 per year. France's is 32.1. That of the United States is 24.0, and Spain's is an extremely low 12.2. So what's this fear and loathing in the United States stuff? You're more likely to die earlier due to violence in most of Europe than in the US. We see that Spain is an extremely non-violent country in both murder and suicide, which probably colors Spaniards' perception of how high crime rates are in other places.

Let's look at road safety now. Nation Master has a partial list of persons killed per billion vehicle-miles traveled, which does not include Spain. From the top:

Czech Republic 31.7
Greece 26.7
South Korea 25.0
Belgium 15.3
Japan 11.2
France 10.9
Germany 9.7
United States 9.4
United Kingdom 7.6

Looks like most Europeans are more violent on the roads than us Anglo-Saxons.

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