Homicide Rate: UK vs. US

The U.K.’s strict gun controls mean it has a lower homicide rate than the U.S. even though there’s more violent crime, according to a study that also found violence in Britain fell over the past decade. According to the Sydney-based Institute for Economics and Peace, the U.K. had 933 violent crimes per 100,000 people in 2012, down from 1,255 in 2003.

In the U.S., the figure for 2010 was 399 violent crimes per 100,000 people. Still, while the U.S. violent-crime rate is less than half Britain’s, its homicide rate between 2003 and 2011 was almost four times as high. A series of mass shootings, including the December murder of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, have revived questions about gun control in the U.S. In the U.K., where all guns require licenses and are hard to obtain legally, they’re used in 1 in 13 homicides.

In the U.S., they’re used in two out of three. “You’ve got 10 times the likelihood of being killed in violent crime in the U.S. than you have in the U.K.,” Steve Killelea, the founder of the institute, told the BBC today.

“The strict gun controls in the U.K. are one of the reasons you’ve got such good homicide rates.” According to the institute, if the U.S. homicide rate were the same as the U.K.’s, it would prevent 12,000 deaths a year.

The study found that violence costs the U.K. 124 billion pounds ($189 billion) a year, more than 7 percent of gross domestic product. The level of violence has fallen 11 percent over the past decade, one of the sharpest declines in western Europe, the institute said.

Source: Bloomberg

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