USA a World Leader in Murder and Homicide

The National Institute of Justice released a report, November 5, 2013, from Dr. Randolph Roth, Ph.D. from the Ohio State University which concluded that the United States had one of the highest Murder rates in the world. You hear it on the news on almost a daily basis that you’ve become numb to it: someone has been shot to death, stabbed to death, beaten to death, etc. The murder rate for the United States last year was 4.7 murders per 100,000 people; compared to Japan’s rate of 0.4 murder per 100,000 people; or to Germany’s 0.8 murders per 100,000 people; or to Australia’s 1.0 murders per 100,000 people; or France’s 1.1 murders per 100,000 people; or even Great Britain’s 1.2 Murders per 100,000 people. The only countries to have higher Murder rates that the United States were Brazil, Estonia, Mexico, and Russia.

The homicide rate in the United States has been three (3) to ten (10) times higher than in Canada, Western Europe, and Japan since World War II. Dr. Roth states this has not always been the case and attempts to explain what has happened to cause this dramatic change in this Report released by the National Institute of Justice. Whether it’s a single homicide or a mass shooting, why is the homicide rate in the United States significantly higher than almost every other developed country?

Although our country is one of the most heavily-armed nations, with almost one-half of our population owning guns, experts state that household gun ownership and other factors such as poverty and drug use do not show a parallel relationship with our murder rate. The National Institute of Justice Report based upon Dr. Roth’s research suggests that the homicide rate seems to correlate with our nation’s attitude towards our government and society. For example, during the Great Depression, the homicide rate in our country went down while poverty increased. Compare that to the 1960’s, when our country had more police, more people in prison, and strong economic growth, yet the murder rate increased dramatically.

Dr. Roth’s research suggests four (4) factors that relate to our homicide rate: the stability of our government; a feeling of trust in government officials; a sense of patriotism; and a belief that our society is satisfactory. When those feelings and beliefs are strong, the homicide rate tends to drop, but when we are unsure of our government and do not feel connected to the rest of society, murder rates go up. So the next time you blame guns or drug use on the rate of violent crimes, look to how you feel about Washington and our leaders before jumping to any conclusions.