U.S. vs U.K. - Crime/Murder

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There’s this common meme that the U.S. is so much worse than the U.K. in murders or crime, so I wanted to collect a lot of facts in one place.

🗒️ NOTE:
A common way they mislead people is to compare gun murder rates only, instead of all murder rates. Assuming you don't want to be murdered (or assaulted) by chemicals, knives, clubs or fists, any time you see someone comparing GUN murder rates instead of ALL murder rates (or assaults), you know they’re trying to flam-flam.

The trends


Here’s a simple adjusted plot of the murder rates over time, for the U.S. (using the FBI’s UCR / Universal Crime Report) and U.K. (using their ONS / Office of National Statistics). And I overlay when they each enacted or removed gun controls. What you notice is:

  • If you look at the (the blue line): Each time the UK enacted or stiffened their gun control laws, they saw an increase in murder rates. Each new law, had no positive (and some negative) impact or an increase in murder rates. (Crime trends are even worse). (In the 1950’s they outlawed conceal and carry, in the 80’s it was shotguns, and in the late 90’s it was all pistols). So regardless of whether the UK has fewer murders than the US for cultural reasons, we know that gun control didn’t help the UK’s murder rate.
  • Next if you look at the (the red line): I overlaid (and adjusted) the U.S. murder rates with major gun control events. After JFK was shot, states and eventually the Fed (1968) passed all sorts of gun control laws — and what happened to our murder rates? They doubled from around 5 to 10 per 100K over the next decade, and they hovered there, despite all sorts of state and federal revisions, or more laws (30,000 different state/local/federal gun control laws were passed in total). There was no significant positive effects, and some observable negative ones in the U.S. due to our gun control laws.
  • Then in the late 80’s Florida passed “Must Issue” conceal and carry and castle doctrine laws were passed, and their crime/murder rates started falling noticeably. Many other states (in the South and Midwest) followed suit, with the same effects in their state murder rates, and eventually enough of those added up to start impacting the federal murder rates noticeably. Then the federal assault weapon ban expired — and if gun control worked, you’d expect an upward spike in murders, but murders trended down. Adding gun control had no positive effects, and removing them had no significant negative effects, in the U.S.!. So if you have the choice of tyranny or liberty, and there's no benefit to tyranny: opt for liberty.
  • And to re-iterate, ignoring that the British had a lower baseline, if you look at the trends before/after gun control, it did NOT trend in the right direction. So there's people that are uninformed enough to never look at the trend direction, and there's people who have, but when talking gun control, they never bring it up. Why would they commit that lie of omission, if they just wanted to get at the truth and just give the public information to make their own informed opinions? The fact that you never hear about that trend change in the media, proves the media is either incompetent or dishonest.

Regardless of whether the UK has fewer murders than the US for cultural reasons, we know that gun control didn’t help the UK or US's murder rate. And in fact, seemed to have the opposite effect. Enacting them seemed to increase murders, and removing those allowed downward murder rates to continue.

The Adjustments/Gap explained

Before & After: US vs UK Murder rate adjustments

The upper graph is the corrected/adjusted numbers, the slide to the right is the raw data, with each adjustments: honest people show and explain their work. The media usually gives uncorrected numbers, or doesn't show their work, to intentionally mislead people.

Something important to know is that the U.K. ONS distorts their numbers for political reasons. While the rest of the world measures murder rates as people who are killed, the ONS does two things to cheat:

  1. They exclude Scotland and North Ireland from their counting: I guess when they are murdered, it isn’t as important to ONS as if Britons die. While that is only about 10% of the total population of the UK, it is significantly more of their crimes and murders.
  2. They only count murders where someone is charged with a crime. (Only between 1/2 and 3/4ths of all murders are counted).
Something to note is that Scotland and Ireland have higher murder rates than in England/Whales and the U.S. despite their gun control. So we know that gun control doesn’t work for Scotland and Ireland.

When propagandists compare the “official” U.S. to U.K. numbers, they’re ignoring these differences in accounting. But to be honest, we need to normalize (correct) across countries accounting. I could either raise UK’s numbers up, or the U.S. numbers down, but you have to make up for the gimmick (where an uncharged homicide isn’t counted in the U.K.). So I corrected the U.S. down (the US with UK accounting), and you get the medium red trend line. The U.S. is not equal to UK or England, but is much better than Scotland or North Ireland with their gun control.

But wait there’s more

The other gimmick used, is whenever you compare two different collections in statistics, you must correct for differences between sub-groups. (Or only focus on the sub-group).

Example you do two polls, one has 80% of respondents that are 55 and older, and other has 80% of respondents that are 25 and younger. You're going to get dramatically different results. So you normalize both for population average -- or you throw out all ages that you don't care about. This is all statistics 101 — which shows that anyone who doesn’t make these correction either doesn’t know statistics, or is a propagandists, intentionally misleading people.

In the U.S. Blacks are 1/7th the population, but over 1/2 of all our murders, and Latino’s are about the same 15% of the population and are responsible for over half the rest of murders.England has virtually no blacks or latino’s (<3%). So if we correct for those demographic differences (or just compare a subset — the U.S.’s white murder rate to the UK’s white murder rate), we find that in the bright red trend line, that the U.S. has a lower murder rate than the U.K.

Racist:Now around this time, people that can’t handle the facts or truth, start trying to distract by claiming either I’m racist, or this data is racist. But data is not making judgements, it’s just facts. The problem isn’t racial in America, but it is cultural. Black immigrants don’t have the same murder rates as Black Americans. And if you dive into the groups, you find rural blacks (and whites and latinos) have lower murder rates than inner cities. It’s also not income or income equality based since rural poor have lower murder rates than urban poor -- and many richer countries have more murders/crime than many poorer ones. It's about failures of the inner city gang culture.

So facts are facts. In the U.S. we have a lower white murder rate (but higher black murder rate) than the U.K. And white’s in America have higher gun ownership rates than blacks (or than whites in the U.K.) — so we know that gun control doesn’t help murder rates for whites. At least across these two countries. And the reason for differences among blacks in the two countries is easily explained by gang culture in the U.S.

But what about violent crime?

  • Violent crime is down in the UK, from a peak of 3.8 million to 1.3 million violent crimes last year, so they are trending better... just not as much as we dropped over the same time.
  • But remember, that in a country 1/5th our size. 'That means they’re ONLY at about 1,776/100K violent crimes per year, versus the U.S. 466.
  • And if you adjust for race/gangs in a few urban areas (like they threw out Scotland/Ireland, and do the same to the worst Democrat controlled cities), or just look at white crime rates, the U.S. drops to about 1/8th of the UK's violent crime rates
  • England/Wales rape rate (or attempted) is about 85,000/year (w/another 40K sexual assaults), about the same as ours (1/3rd Sweden’s), but more of theirs are at knifepoint, and they don’t include Scotland or North Ireland (which appears closer to Sweden's rates and puts their rates well over ours).
  • They still have, 2.6x more assaults than the US. (Scotland has an astounding 5.7x more than the U.S.), far higher burglaries and robberies, and far far worse with home-invasion type robberies (where armed robbers come in when owners are home and just tie them up and beat them).
  • While the UK's total crime rate is about double ours, you have to remember, ours is pooled in a few urban areas w/Gang problems (DC, Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago), their problems are far more widespread -- ours Is lower in most of the nation (geographically) and pooled in a few cities (and most just in a few of the worst / Democrat controlled cities).
Even if you throw out Scotland/Ireland (for no good reason), as some FakeNews places try to do, and you adjust for accounting differences (UK qualifies more things as "violent crimes" than the FBI does) then the UK is only at about 776/100K or still about double ours.

Well at least they don’t have our mass murders

Mass murder rates are hard to track because they’re so rare. With 5x the population of the UK, we had about 8x as many events as the UK (so a little worse in rate). But the U.S. usually has fewer kills per incident, and that’s if you go only go back to 2008 and their Cumbria shooting (where Derrick Bird shot and killed 12 and injured 11). If you go back to 2005 and their London bombings their 52 dead and 700 injured, they easily surpasses all ours in the same time (not even adjusting for population).

So because these events are so infrequent, it matters a lot when you start and how you account. I could easily cook the numbers and make them look far worse. Or you could throw look at only mass shootings (counting 2 people as "mass") and make us look worse. The facts are that gun control has virtually no impact on mass murders, as mass murderers get guns anyways (as France and Germany proved), or they use cars/trucks and explosives (which do even more damage). But that's a topic for another article.


Anyone vaguely informed on gun control issues knows is that the U.S. does not have a gun problem.

  • Whites and Asian are highly responsible with guns, and have a lower murder rate than almost all of Europe and the OECD countries. We have a very specific problem: democrats, blacks and latino gang-members drag our murder and crime rates averages up.
  • The UK has a higher white murder rate, but they use clubs and knives rather than guns. Since I’m pretty sure most people don’t want to be stabbed or beaten to death, the important factor is whether you’re murdered or not (not the tool the murderer uses), right?

Another thing gun-controller advocates either don’t realize (or do, and lie about) is as bad as the U.S. is at murders or violent crime -- the UK is worse despite their gun control. England alone has something like 600 murdersby knife per year (and 26,370 knife crimes). Compare that to only 1,500 for the U.S., with over 5 times the population. Home invasion robberies, aggravated assault, violent rape, and stabbings are worse in the UK than in the U.S. And that's BEFORE you correct for race and gang crimes.

So in the end, when it comes to trends:

  • increasing gun control and taking away gun owners liberty only resulted in higher crimes and murder rates in the UK.
  • In the U.S., removing those laws resulted in lowering of crime rates

Anyone that tells you otherwise is trying to prestidigitate the numbers, and baffle you with bullshit and fallacies -- not explain the numbers and show their work, as I just did.


📚 References

U.S. vs Australia - Crime/Murder
Australia took away guns and had a decrease in gun murder/crime/suicide, with a larger increase in murder/crime/suicide overall. Decades later they are down in murders and suicides, but not by any more than the U.S, or trends that started 30 years before the gun ban. They’re up in Violent Crime, Robbery, Rape and aggravated assault by much more. Their mass murderers moved to burning down buildings (with rates about flat). So they spent $500M, still have 3M illegal guns in their country., and higher violent crime: I’m not seeing the win.
U.S. vs Canada - Crime/Murder
There’s this common meme spread to mislead people that the U.S. is so much worse than Canada in murders, so I wanted to show it in pictures (to help people understand). Canada rates of murder didn't change any more than the U.S. despite Canada enacting gun control and the U.S. loosening it. This shows that gun control is not an effective determining factor in murder rates.
U.S. vs World - Crime/Murder
When the facts support your argument, you share the facts -- when they don't, some will resort to partial information (cherry picking), fallacies, or other deceptions.

The facts are, in murder rates: U.S. ranks #121 safest out of 218 countries, #4 safest out of 49 counties in our hemisphere, #19 safest out of 36 OECD countries, our drug/gang/crime problems have nothing to do with gun control, and more guns = less murder because it's dangerous to try to kill an armed person. This article contains the stats and facts, for those who care.