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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Letters: Bryn Davies

Philip Booth (Letters, April 2008) should know better. Making the statement: “Crime in the UK is two-and-a-half times the level in the US,” without any attempt to explain the statistic, or provide a reference, is simply empty rhetoric.

Making any sort of international comparison is well-known to be difficult, with problems of definition, collection and interpretation, and this is particularly so for a social phenomenon like crime. But if, for the sake of the argument, you want to trade such statistics, a quick search on Google finds the website www.nationmaster. com, which specialises in such comparative data.

This reports a “crime rate” for the UK of 85.5517 per 1000 people, whereas that reported for the US is 80.0645 per 1000 people — only 7% higher. Perhaps more importantly, the website goes on to explain in a note: “Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.”

Bryn Davies
7 April 2008