Law enforcement and anti-crime activists regularly claim that the United States tops the charts in most crime-rate categories, but a new international study says that America’s former master — Great Britain — has much higher levels of crime.

The International Crime Victims Survey, conducted by Leiden University in Holland, found that England and Wales ranked second overall in violent crime among industrialized nations.

Twenty-six percent of English citizens — roughly one-quarter of the population — have been victimized by violent crime. Australia led the list with more than 30 percent of its population victimized.

The United States didn’t even make the “top 10” list of industrialized nations whose citizens were victimized by crime.

Jack Straw, the British home secretary, admitted that “levels of victimization are higher than in most comparable countries for most categories of crime.”

Highlights of the study indicated that:

  • The percentage of the population that suffered “contact crime” in England and Wales was 3.6 percent, compared with 1.9 percent in the United States and 0.4 percent in Japan.

  • Burglary rates in England and Wales were also among the highest recorded. Australia (3.9 percent) and Denmark (3.1 per cent) had higher rates of burglary with entry than England and Wales (2.8 percent). In the U.S., the rate was 2.6 percent, according to 1995 figures;

  • “After Australia and England and Wales, the highest prevalence of crime was in Holland (25 percent), Sweden (25 percent) and Canada (24 percent). The United States, despite its high murder rate, was among the middle ranking countries with a 21 percent victimization rate,” the London Telegraph said.

  • England and Wales also led in automobile thefts. More than 2.5 percent of the population had been victimized by car theft, followed by 2.1 percent in Australia and 1.9 percent in France. Again, the U.S. was not listed among the “top 10” nations.

  • The study found that Australia led in burglary rates, with nearly 4 percent of the population having been victimized by a burglary. Denmark was second with 3.1 percent; the U.S. was listed eighth at about 1.8 percent.

Interestingly, the study found that one of the lowest victimization rates — just 15 percent overall — occurred in Northern Ireland, home of the Irish Republican Army and scene of years of terrorist violence.

Analysts in the U.S. were quick to point out that all of the other industrialized nations included in the survey had stringent gun-control laws, but were overall much more violent than the U.S.

Indeed, information on Handgun Control’s Center to Prevent Handgun Violence website actually praises Australia and attempts to portray Australia as a much safer country following strict gun-control measures passed by lawmakers in 1996.

“The next time a credulous friend or acquaintance tells you that Australia actually suffered more crime when they got tougher on guns … offer him a Foster’s, and tell him the facts,” the CPHV site says.

“In 1998, the rate at which firearms were used in murder, attempted murder, assault, sexual assault and armed robbery went down. In that year, the last for which statistics are available, the number of murders involving a firearm declined to its lowest point in four years,” says CPHV.

However, the International Crime Victims Survey notes that overall crime victimization Down Under rose from 27.8 percent of the population in 1988, to 28.6 percent in 1991 to over 30 percent in 1999.

Advocates of less gun control in the U.S. say the drop in gun murder rates was more than offset by the overall victimization increase. Also, they note that Australia leads the ICVS report in three of four categories — burglary (3.9 percent of the population), violent crime (4.1 percent) and overall victimization (about 31 percent).

Australia is second to England in auto theft (2.1 percent).

In March 2000, WorldNetDaily reported that since Australia’s widespread gun ban, violent crime had increased in the country.

WND reported that, although lawmakers responsible for passing the ban promised a safer country, the nation’s crime statistics tell a different story:

  • Countrywide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.

  • Assaults are up 8.6 percent.
  • Amazingly, armed robberies have climbed nearly 45 percent.
  • In the Australian state of Victoria, gun homicides have climbed 300 percent.
  • In the 25 years before the gun bans, crime in Australia had been dropping steadily.
  • There has been a reported “dramatic increase” in home burglaries and assaults on the elderly.

    Related stories:

    Crime up down under

    Australia shoots back at NRA

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