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Crime in America

- Abstract

To the Editor:

James Q. Wilson’s “What To Do About Crime” [September 1994] is a thought-provoking article by one of America’s great intellects. However, his comparison of U.S. homicide rates with those of other industrialized nations should be studied more closely.

On the surface it appears that Americans are more violent than Europeans. For instance, in 1992 Americans had 9.6 homicides per 100,000 population, while Britain had 7.4, Italy had 6.0, France 4.6, and Germany 4.2. Mr. Wilson attributes this, in large part, to the greater availability of firearms in the U.S. But . . . England, France, Germany, and Italy are more homogeneous societies than is the United States. In order to make a more accurate comparison, therefore, one should compare only the white population of the U.S. with the populations of these countries.

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