Monday, April 1, 2013

Lies, damned lies, and...

Rick Notes: Comparing England (or UK) murder rates with the US: More complex than you thought
... I have frequently ... referred to the English murder rates as historically low and currently very low compared to US murder rates.  I blandly accepted the murder statistics published by the UK Home Office as definitive.  I overlooked the details of what and how the English counted "murders." It turns out that was a big mistake.  (I was first turned onto my error by this post at Extrano's Alley.)

I fell into a definitions trap you may not be aware of. The shortest version is this. We count and report crimes based on initial data. The Brits count and report crimes based on the outcome of the investigation and trial. Yep, that says what I meant it to say.
After citing the FBI's numbers, and definitions, there are several paragraphs discussing how they do thing in The Old Country, which is then followed by the summary:
We're not comparing apples to apples, we're comparing apples to meatloaf. 
More discussion follows.  Mr. Boatright attempts several methods to try and reconcile the UK figures to get to a definition of "murder" that would more-or-less match that used in the USA, but the closest he can get is comparing apples to pears, and they are dodgy looking pears, at that.

Bottom line: The UK number may be higher than the US, and it may well be much higher. It may be equal.  All we know for sure is, the UK murder rate as we would define it is a lot higher than they say it is.

While we're at it:  PJ Media » ‘Gun Control Fails,’ Say Statistics from … Gun-Control Advocates

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