# Some statistics (was Re: "smart guns" from Australia)

From: Alejandro Dubrovsky (s335984@student.uq.edu.au)
Date: Sat Apr 08 2000 - 15:13:44 MDT

On Fri, 7 Apr 2000, James Rogers wrote:

> I am actually somewhat puzzled by this response. Do you not advocate a
> culture with a strong belief in a right of self-defense? Considering, that
> violent crime rates in most European countries exceed those of the United
> States (with the narrow exception of homicide), it would seem that these
> issues need to be taken into consideration the more seriously. Fact
> is, I am statistically much safer where I live in the U.S. than most
> places in Europe. (I don't know about Australia specifically, but I have
> believe it is similar to Europe).

Let's try some numbers. Following stats are taken from the www.abs.gov.au
site for australian statistics (Australian Bureau of Statistics) and
www.fbi.gov and www.objp.usdoj.gov for US statistics. Whenever the US
figures are close to each other, i use the FBI figures because the DOJ
rates are based on the population over 12 years old and are based on
a survey. The biggest problem
in the comparison is that the FBI figures are based on the number of
crimes, while the DOJ and Aus figures on the number of victims. Because
i'm limited to ascii, i can't do proper tables but in each of the
following lines, the first number is for OZ, the second for USA (year
taken in brackets):

Homicide (/100,000) 1.5 (1998) 6.3 (1998)
Assault (/100,000) 709 (1998) 365 (FBI) 3100 (DOJ) (1998) (for
FBI, aggravated assault only. for DOJ, sum of simple and aggravated
assault)
Sexual Assault (/100,000) 78 (1998) 34 (FBI) 90 (DOJ) (1998) (for FBI, rapes of females only)
Armed Robbery (/100,000) 33 (1998) 100 (1998)
Unarmed Robbery (/100,000) 63 (1998) 65 (1998) (400 for DOJ combined
armed and unarmed robbery)

With regards to guns, firearms were used in 19% of murders and attempted
murders, and in 18% of armed robberies in Aus, while in the US, they were
used in 65% of murders and 63% of armed robberies. Another thing to note
is that the US definition of aggravated assault includes the australian
definition of attempted murder which were not included in the Australian
assault figures (the attempted murder rate is 2/100,100 in Aus).

Even assuming only one victim/crime (reasonable for homicide but not for
robbery IMHO), i think i'm much safer on this side of the pacific (well,
especially in my age group (18-24), the homicide rate in the US is 18
times higher than over here). That said, i don't know how much longer it
will be that way since the US stats seem to be getting much better by the
year (rapes are at a historic low, most others are the lowest rates in 20
years), while the Australian figures are mostly on the increase.

That's all for now.
Alejandro Dubrovsky

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