2 thoughts on “Interesting vid about crime statistics”

  1. The video on crime statistics makes a common and serious error where violent crime comparisons are made between the US and England.
    The Uniform crime statistics that the FBI publishes do not include all violent crime but rather only four of the more serious ones. They are “indices” rather than “rates”. In England, as in Canada, the statistics include all violent crime reported by the police. As a result the less serious but much more frequent offenses like low level assaults, by far the most common violent crime in Canada, are not included in the US statistics. Here is how the FBI describe their violent crime statistics:
    In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/violent-crime/violent-crime

    Comparing crime “rates” between countries by looking at published data without compensating for what offences are actually included is one of a number of serious but common errors often made. Hard liners in Canada often do this thereby leading people to make faulty comparisons in which the Canadian rate looks very high.

    Murder is one statistic that gives more reliable data comparisons as most countries count murder in a similar way and the reporting rates are usually high.

    For much better international comparisons for key crime areas see The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime at http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/statistics/crime.html or other research reports that deal specifically with the differences in how data is collected.

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