Well, Damn

I’m guilty of this myself:

Comparing England (or UK) murder rates with the US: More complex than you thought

I have frequently in this series 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.

RTWT. The kicker is this, though:

The murder rate in the UK is either equal to or higher than the murder rate in the US.  (Sources not available. See reduced conclusion instead.) 

The murder rate in the UK according to US standards is double or higher than their reported rate. It may be impossible to produce an actual apples to apples comparison number from official sources.  It is not 15% of the US rate. 

As he says, comparing the Home Office “homicide” statistics against the FBI UCR statistics isn’t comparing apples to apples, it’s “comparing apples to meatloaf.”

And be sure to read this link, too.

I won’t make this mistake again.

UPDATED to reflect revision of the original post.

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