Saturday, July 18, 2015

How The UK Covers Up Murder Stats

I wonder if a murder/suicide in the UK is counted as a murder.  After all, there would be no conviction.

In the United States, crime statistics come from quite a few sources, but studies of nationwide trends generally focus on the numbers provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The methodology used by the FBI is fairly straightforward: If there is a dead body and signs of foul play, it’s a murder or non-negligent manslaughter. Note that there is no distinction made between justified and unjustified killings. From a typical perspective, the FBI numbers are on the high side, because they include crimes of passion and self-defense shootings—in other words, quite a few deaths that are not legally considered murders.

Homicide stats for the United Kingdom have traditionally come from reports from the Home Office, which tallies murders according to a completely different system. The crucial methodological difference is that a murder’s existential status depends on a conviction, not a body and evidence of foul play. Think of how many murders go unsolved, and it will become clear that the Home Office’s numbers are woefully low. Not only that, but they are reported from the time of conviction, not the time of death. Since murder cases often take years to be resolved, statistics for a given year tend to reflect events actually occurring in previous years. For example, Home Office figures appear to indicate a massive spike in murders culminating in 2003; in actuality, this is the year in which the victims of prolific serial killer Harold Shipman—who murdered throughout his long career—were reported.

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