Violent crime

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A violent crime or crime of violence is a crime in which the offender uses or threatens to use violent force upon the victim. This entails both crimes in which the violent act is the objective, such as murder, as well as crimes in which violence is the means to an end, (including criminal ends) such as robbery. Violent crimes include crimes committed with weapons. With the exception of rape (which accounts for 6% of all reported violent crimes), males are the primary victims of all forms of violent crime.[1] A violent crime may end with injury or death, both on the part of victim and offender.

Violent crime by country[edit]

The comparison of violent crime statistics between countries is usually problematic, due to the way different countries classify crime.[2][3][4][5] Valid comparisons require that similar offences between jurisdictions be compared. Often this is not possible, because crime statistics aggregate equivalent offences in such different ways that make it difficult or impossible to obtain a valid comparison. Different countries also have different systems of recording and reporting crimes.


The Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC)[6] document published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics does not have a single category for violent crime. Rather, violent crime is classified under a number of different categories that often indicate a range of both violent and non-violent behaviour. The categories include:[7]


Canada classifies homicides, attempted murder, all assaults, all sexual offences, abduction and robbery as violent crime.[8]

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand's crime statistics[9][10] has a category for violence that includes homicides, kidnapping, abduction, robbery, assaults, intimidation, threats, and group assembly, while all sexual offences are shown in a separate category from violence.


Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, China, North Korea, Japan, England, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece and Sweden count minor violence like slapping another person as assault.[2] An example is the case of Ilias Kasidiaris in 2012. Kasidaris, then spokesperson for Greece's far-right Golden Dawn party, slapped a left-wing female opponent in the face during a live televised debate. He was subsequently wanted by Greek prosecutors for assault and faced an arrest warrant.[11]

France does not count minor violence like slapping somebody as assault.[2]

United Kingdom[edit]

Includes all violence against the person, sexual offences, and robbery as violent crime.[12]

Rates of violent crime in the UK are recorded by the British Crime Survey. For the 2010/2011 report on crime in England and Wales,[13] the statistics show that violent crime continues a general downward trend observed over the last few decades as shown in the graph. "The 2010/11 BCS showed overall violence was down 47 per cent on the level seen at its peak in 1995; representing nearly two million fewer violent offences per year." In 2010/11, 31 people per 1000 interviewed reported being a victim of violent crime in the 12 preceding months.

Regarding murder, "increasing levels of homicide (at around 2% to 3% per year) [have been observed] from the 1960s through to the end of the twentieth century". Recently the murder rate has declined, "a fall of 19 per cent in homicides since 2001/02", as measured by The Homicide Index.

United States[edit]

Violent crime in the United States[14]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Report (FBI UCR) counts four categories of crime as violent crimes: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.[15] It should be noted that there are two methods of recording crime in the US. These do not look at exactly the same crimes. The UCR measures crimes reported to police, and classes violent crime as above. The National Crime Victimization Survey[16] (NCVS) measures crimes reported by households surveyed by the United States Census Bureau, and looks at assault, rape, and robbery. The UCR figures are those quoted for, "violent crime" rates.

According to figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the rate of violent crime victimization in the United States declined by more than two thirds between the years 1994 and 2009.[17] In 2009, there were 16.9 victimizations per 1000 persons aged 12 and over. 7.9% of sentenced prisoners in federal prisons on September 30, 2009 were convicted of violent crimes.[18] 52.4% of sentenced prisoners in state prisons at the end of 2008 were in for violent crimes.[18] 21.6% of convicted inmates in jails in 2002 (latest available data by type of offense) were in for violent crimes.[19]

By 2012 the reported violent crime rate in the U.S. had dropped to 386.9 cases per 100,000 of the population, compared to 729.6 in 1990 [20]


  1. ^ Bureau of Justice Statistics Victim Characteristics[dead link]
  2. ^ a b c European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics – 2010, fourth edition, p30.
  3. ^ Segessenmann, Tanya Section 2 - International Comparisons of Recorded Violent Crime Rates for 2000, Research & Evaluation Unit, Ministry of Justice, Wellington, New Zealand. 11 June 2002 Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  4. ^ "Compiling and Comparing International Crime Statistics". Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  5. ^ "Crime statistics - Statistics Explained". Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  6. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics 1234.0 - Australian Standard Offence Classification (ASOC), 1997. Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  7. ^ Segessenmann. Table A2
  8. ^ Segessenmann. Table A4.
  9. ^ "Official New Zealand Police Statistics". Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  10. ^ New Zealand Recorded Crime Tables[dead link]
  11. ^ Greek far-right Golden Dawn MP wanted for assault. June 7, 2012. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  12. ^ Segessenmann. Table A3.
  13. ^ Home Office (2011-07-14). "British Crime Survey". Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "FBI — Violent Crime". 2012-10-22. Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  16. ^ "Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) - National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)". Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  17. ^ Violent Crime Rate Trends. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  18. ^ a b West, Heather; Sabol, William (December 2010). "Prisoners in 2009" (PDF). Bureau of Justice Statistics. 
  19. ^ Profile of Jail Inmates, 2002. By Doris J. James. July 18, 2004. NCJ 201932. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. See Table 3 of the PDF file for the percent of inmates in for violent offenses.
  20. ^ Reported violent crime rate in the United States from 1990 to 2012. FBI. October 2013. Retrieved November 15, 2013.

External links[edit]