Violent crime rates: United Kingdom versus the United States

I have pointed out before that the mainstream media supported ‘gun-control’ community really likes to look a the rate of gun-murders in their media statements.

This is logically done in a rather obvious attempt to discredit legitimate civilian firearm ownership. (Such disarmament calls never seem to include to the agents of the state, do they?)

As a recent example, Piers Morgan of CNN, in a debate with Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, was quick to zero in on the rate of gun murders in the United States. Claiming them to be much higher than his home in the United Kingdom.

Morgan implicitly seemed to imply that the situation in the UK, with strict gun-control, is much superior to the situation in the US. And yet, in a 2009 article in “The Telegraph”, run the following heading:“UK is violent crime capital of Europe”.

I quote at length from the article: 

The figures combined crime statistics for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The UK had a greater number of murders in 2007 than any other EU country – 927 – and at a relative rate higher than most western European neighbours, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

It also recorded the fifth highest robbery rate in the EU, and the highest absolute number of burglaries, with double the number of offences recorded in Germany and France.Overall, 5.4 million crimes were recorded in the UK in 2007 – more than 10 a minute - second only to Sweden …

The figures were sourced from Eurostat, the European Commission’s database of statistics. They are gathered using official sources in the countries concerned such as the national statistics office, the national prison administration, ministries of the interior or justice, and police.

A breakdown of the statistics, which were compiled into league tables by the Conservatives, revealed that violent crime in the UK had increased from 652,974 offences in 1998 to more than 1.15 million crimes in 2007.

It means there are over 2,000 crimes recorded per 100,000 population in the UK, making it the most violent place in Europe.

Austria is second, with a rate of 1,677 per 100,000 people, followed by Sweden, Belgium, Finland and Holland. By comparison, America has an estimated rate of 466 violent crimes per 100,000 population.

France recorded 324,765 violent crimes in 2007 – a 67 per cent increase in the past decade – at a rate of 504 per 100,000 population.

So, let’s take a look at some of these violent crime rates in visual form.

Violent Crimes US UK France


I hate to break it to Piers Morgan, but his home town is not the crime free utopia he hoped for. Read a more comprehensive discussion, by Melissa Melton, on the crime rates in the United Kingdom, here.

To me, the sole focus on ‘gun-murders’ in the debate is disingenuous and obscures the actual picture of overall violent crimes (which includes robberies, violent assault, rape, murders (with / without weapons). A focus on ‘gun murders’ may even amount to propaganda, as one of our readers pointed out earlier this week.

If we refer to ‘gun-murders’ in our discourse, shouldn’t we also then focus on knife murders, water murders, or poison murders, or fist murders, or brick murders? But we  rarely hear statist-politicians talking about the other types of murder.

The politician’s solution is, of course, always to ban more guns, and to do away with more civilian ‘gun rights’. It also helps if you can co-op the Lamestream media to demonise guns in the media.

In South Africa, you can regard your ‘gun rights’, if you believe in that, as very close to being a distant memory. The decline of these rights really sped up after the installation of the progressive stealth civilian disarmament act; you may know as the Firearm Control Act. How much of your firearm rights do you think will be left in 20 years? will it be more or less. You decide for yourself.

I was shocked to discover – in a testament to the success of the media brainwashing around guns – that guns are actually not the most used instrument of murder.

When it comes down to a question of method of crime, in South Africa, murder-by-firearm seems to be the method used in only 20.5% of cases. That is about 1 in 5. (At least for 2011 ). This is according to a very good analysis by Sarel Wagner citing Stats SA figures for 2011. (Download a PDF of his research here.) A chart is presented below:

Types of Weapons


In actual fact, if you were to run the numbers, you will see that in South Africa, you are more than likely to experience a violent crime with a knife or sharp object, than with a gun. Yet, is that the picture painted in the mainstream media?

Note also, the South African government had not spent nearly 2,104 million Rand (263 million US dollars), of our tax money, to restrict knives, or axes, or sticks or clubs.

This simply means guns are controlled for political ends.

Violent Crimes Ave


Some people will probably say, yes, but without gun control, gun murders would be higher. On that, I will say: ok … so what … our murder rate is still of the highest in the world, even if guns are not used so much for murder. That cannot really be called a victory against crime.

Also, keep in mind that 79.5% of cases of murder involved, no guns. Is it not conceivable that had we armed ‘at risk’ individuals with concealable side-arms for self-defence, more of the now voiceless murdered, may have been alive! In some cases, merely brandishing a firearm, prevented a crime from happening. Such events are rarely reported and captured in the government numbers.

This seems to be what research, by professor John Lott, in More Guns, Less Crime, seems to illustrate. Unfortunately, we cannot ask the voiceless murdered if they are for or against gun-control.

Guns are political, and at the cost of gun politics, many of the poorest individuals, people that really need protection, will never be able to get access to legal guns in SA. That’s because of the high compliance costs associated with the monstrous SA Firearms Control Act (discussed in this article.)

Of course, this is not so for the criminals. If we are honest, we have to admit that in SA they can rent or buy any type of gun they want, for much cheaper. To me, that is a rather shameful state of our society. Yet, we still have gun control, and the call for more control continues …

About Gerhard V

Individual Liberty Activist and libertarian advocate of the market economy, sound money, and minimal government intervention.
This entry was posted in Civilian Disarmament, Gun Control and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Violent crime rates: United Kingdom versus the United States

  1. Stewart Wood says:

    “..keep in mind that 79.5% of cases of murder involved, no guns”

    The other side of that particular coin is that in 79.5% of cases of murder, if the victim had had a gun, those murders, or a very large proportion of them would not have occurred.

    Instead it is possible that many evil criminals would no longer be infesting our society.

    • T0M says:

      Indeed Stewart – I have used my personal firearm on at least 3 occasions to protect my life, as well as those of my family. Of course, I only once made the mistake of reporting such an incident – being treated like a criminal for protecting my own life, and the lives of 3 other people with me, and having the police confiscate my unfired firearm for ‘investigation’, returning it only months later (a rather unpleasant experience), very quickly and effectively showed me that the police are not interested in our personal safety as citizens, but rather in following the orders of their political masters – which orders are to remove all private firearms using whatever means necessary. Interestingly, it later transpired that the criminals who forced me to defend myself and my companions were, in fact, off-duty policemen.

      It pays to remember that an armed individual is a citizen; an unarmed individual is a ‘subject’.

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