DEFINING VIOLENT CRIME =====
“Violent crime contains a wide range of offences, from minor assaults such as pushing and shoving that result in no physical harm through to serious incidents of wounding and murder. Around a half of violent incidents identified by both BCS and police statistics involve no injury to the victim.” (THOSB – CEW, page 17, paragraph 1.)
“In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses which involve force or threat of force.” (FBI – CUS – Violent Crime)
We can clearly see here there is quite a large difference in how both countries report and assess what qualifies as “violent crime”. The UK’s approach seems to be a lot more encompassing in scope and adds to its definition of “violent crime” offences which are not matched by its US counterpart. This raises the obvious question of whether UK violent crime rates can be said to be higher simply because things considered “violent crime” in the UK are not so in the US. One example is “assault”, all forms of which are considered “violent” in the UK, whereas in the US only “aggravated” is considered violent. A further example revolves around sexual offences, only “forcible” rape featuring in the US definition, while the UK definition includes rape and any and all forms of sexual assault.
Therefore, it becomes practically impossible to draw any objective comparison between the two, unless one trawls through the various definitions of crimes that can be said to be the same in definition and execution in the UK and the US. I’ve actually done this, and by going through the PRC and FBI – CUS it is possible, I believe, to find a number of crimes which I think are fairly indicative of the prevalence of “violence” in either country. To this end, I have isolated robbery, burglary, homicide / murder, knife crime, fatal shootings, rape of a female, grievous bodily harm / aggravated assault and theft of a vehicle in order to give us a fair idea of which country is more “violent.” The relevant definitions and rates for each crime will be presented below in their own sections.
However, before we proceed onto that stage, I thought it would be useful to present the actual figures of “violent crime rates” for both countries that has spurned this research in the first place, and the mathematics involved in calculating the figures and statistics for each relevant isolated crime.