Monday, October 16, 2006

Historic Crime Increases in Britain, Australia, Canada

"The government just reported that gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled in the four years from 1998-99 to 2002-03. The serious violent crime rate soared by 64%, and overall violent crime by 118%. The violent crime rate in England and Wales now stands at twice the rate of that in the U.S.

"Understandably, the government wants to "do something," but it is hard to believe that the new proposals will succeed where past efforts have failed.

"With the exception of the U.S., other English-speaking countries have followed Britain's lead in limiting gun ownership. Like the British, they have nothing to show for it.

"Australia saw its violent crime rates soar after its 1996 Port Arthur gun-control measures banned most firearms. Violent crime rates averaged 32% higher in the six years after the law was passed (from 1997 to 2002) than they did the year before the law went into effect. Armed robbery rates increased 74%. Australia's violent crime rate is also now double America's.

"Canada hasn't gone anywhere near as far as Australia and England, but even that country's limited restrictions have caused problems. Despite a gun registration system that has cost 500 times more than promised (the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. claims the overrun is 1,000 times greater), the overall crime rate is more than half again higher than in the U.S. and has risen as the American crime rate has fallen. Meanwhile, violent crime in the U.S. has fallen much faster than in Canada, and murders in Canada have gone up slightly, while falling in the U.S.

"The Canadian government recently admitted it could not identify a single violent crime that had been solved through registration. Public confidence in the government's ability to fight crime has also eroded, with one recent survey showing only 17% of voters support the registration program."

John R. Lott, Jr.


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