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Everyday Probability|Views: 299|Likes: 16

Published by Anh Ton

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https://www.scribd.com/doc/65772598/Everyday-Probability

03/27/2013

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Homicide is the category of crime that includes murder and

manslaughter,andistheonethatmostimpingesonthepublic’sgen-

eral awareness of crime. A murder is always reported in the local

press and on local radio and television news programs. A homi-

cide with special characteristics, involving, say, multiple deaths, a

celebrity,achildortheuseofaﬁrearmwillusuallybecomeanational

news item. This concentration of attention on homicide in the news

media leads to the impression that it is a common occurrence in

society. The incidence of homicide in England and Wales from 1993

to 2005, as displayed in Fig. 16.5 shows that, on the contrary, it is a

very rare crime. The numbers per year are measured in hundreds,

whereas the numbers per year of the other types of crime to which

**Fig. 16.5.** Homicides in England and Wales, 1993–2005.

March 24, 2008 17:9 B-595

ch16

178** Everyday Probability and Statistics
**

we have referred are measured in millions. However, the graph

shows a different evolutionary pattern to those of the other types

of crime.

The later entries in the graph are a little misleading, because

the 2000–2001 ﬁgure includes the deaths of 58 Chinese illegal immi-

grants who suffocated in a lorry that brought them into the United

Kingdom and the 2002–2003 ﬁgure is greatly distorted by includ-

ing all the victims of the mass murderer Dr Harold Shipman, esti-

mated to be between 150 and 250, in that year, although their

deaths occurred over several years. Taking these special factors into

account, it is probably true to say that the underlying rate has ﬂat-

tened out at a level less than 10% above what it was in the late

1990s — to something in the region of 830 per year. It is customary

when reporting homicide rates in any society to express it as homi-

cides per 100,000 of the population per year. Given the population

of England and Wales as about 53million, this gives a rate of 1.6 per

100,000 per year.

Asmightbeexpectedtheratestendtobehigherinmajorcities:

the ﬁgures for three major cities in the United Kingdom are

London 2.1

Edinburgh 2.4

Belfast 4.4

TheBelfastﬁgureisaffectedbyacomponentofsectarianhomi-

cidewhichisnotpresenttoanyextentintheremainderoftheUnited

Kingdom. However, while any homicide is one too many, it turns

out that the United Kingdom is one of the safest countries in the

world in terms of homicide. Of all major countries, only Japan has

a lower homicide rate (0.9 per 100,000, but accompanied by a huge

suicide rate); even Switzerland, generally regarded as a haven of

harmony and tranquility, has more than twice the UK rate. To put

the UK city ﬁgures in perspective, some quoted ﬁgures for major

March 24, 2008 17:9 B-595

ch16

**Crime is Increasing and Decreasing** 179

cities in Europe and the United States are as follows:

New York

7.3

Amsterdam

7.7

Lisbon

9.7

Chicago

22.2

Baltimore

38.3

Washington, DC 45.8

DespitealltheimpressionstothecontrarytheUnitedKingdom

is a safe place to live — at least as far as homicide is concerned.

AUKcitizenshouldbeconcernedabouthomicide,butitshouldnot

overshadow his life — he is four times more likely to be killed in a

road accident than to be the victim of a homicide.

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