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American Crime Rates

Whether measured by surveys of crime victims or by police statistics, serious crime rates are not generally higher in the United States than England & Wales. Whilst this statement relies on relatively old research (the analysis of crime rates between 1981 and 1996), the opinion that crime is higher in the US has been held for some decades, and this research is still relevant here.

According to 1995 victim surveys - which measure robbery, assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft - crime rates are all higher in England than the United States. According to the 1996 police statistics - which measure incidents reported to police of murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft - crime rates are higher in England for three crimes: assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft (figures 5-10). The 1996 crime rate for a fourth crime (robbery) would have been higher in England than the United States had English police recorded the same fraction of robberies that came to their attention as American police.

The major exception to the pattern of higher crime rates in England is the murder rate. The 1996 U.S. murder rate is vastly higher (nearly six times) than England's, although the difference between the two countries has narrowed considerably over the 16 years time period of the research.

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It is possible that the reason the American murder rates are higher is the availability of Firearms.
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