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NCJ Number: 119358 Find in a Library
Title: Diverging Homicide Rates: England and the United States, 1850-1875 (From Violence in America, Volume 1: The History of Crime, P 80-101, 1989, Ted Robert Gurr, ed. -- See NCJ-119355)
Author(s): E Monkkonen
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of sources of the current differences in homicide rates between England and the United States concludes that the divergence began in the period 1850-75 and probably stemmed from the availability of guns and the laxness of punishments in the United States during this period.
Abstract: In 1974 the murder rate in the United States was about 40 times that of Britain. Over time, the two nations have consistently differed by a factor of more than 10. Common hypotheses focus on the widespread availability of handguns in the United States, on its diverse ethnic and racial mix, on the cultural values of the frontier, and to feelings of deprivation among poor people. However, each hypothesis is insufficient. However, analysis of data from the 19th century shows that the two nations were far closer in homicide rates than they have been ever since. After the Civil War the homicide rate in New York City declined, but that of Britain declined much more sharply. Part of the difference resulted from the increase of the use of guns in homicides as a result of the gun culture that arose from the Civil War. In addition, punishment in New York City was feeble. Punishment appeared to depend on whether or not the killing appeared to be reasonable in terms of social propriety. Consistent and vigorous punishment as practiced in other nations might have reduced homicide rates further. Tables, figure, and reference notes.
Main Term(s): Homicide causes
Index Term(s): England; US/foreign comparisons
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