BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Publication Crime and Justice in the United States and in England and Wales, 1981-96

David Farrington, Ph.D., Patrick Langan, Ph.D.

October 1, 1998    NCJ 173402

Findings show that whether measured by surveys of crime victims or by police statistics, serious crime rates are not generally higher in the United States than England and Wales. According to 1995 victim surveys -- which measure robbery, assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft -- crime rates are higher in England than the United States. The major exception to the pattern of higher crime rates in England and Wales is the murder rate. The 1996 U.S. murder rate was nearly six times higher than England and Wales, although the difference among the countries has narrowed over the past 16 years. Firearms are more often involved in violent crimes in the United States than in England and Wales. Since 1981 an offender's risk of being caught, convicted, and sentenced to incarceration has risen in the United States for all six measured crimes (murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft) but has fallen in England and Wales for all but murder. The court data addressed in this report include convictions, sentences of incarceration, racial disparities in incarceration, percent of sentence served, and time served. 7 figures

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