Who is the US killing? The political and social reasons for the US’s murder rate

How does the murder rate compare to other major cities around the world? Read more

Police in the US recorded 2,000 murders in 2015, compared with 2,614 the year before and 2,314 in 2005, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

About one in every 108 Americans is murdered, a grim fact that has made it a source of jokes on late-night television. In 2011, comedian Jay Leno was heard to joke on NBC’s Tonight Show about how the US was the third-highest murder rate in the world, behind Finland and Jamaica. By contrast, Lebanon, which has a population of 5.7 million, had twice the murder rate of the US as of 2012.

But based on police department reports alone, the death toll of American urban dwellers this year has reached far higher figures. Police were called to 93,767 incidents of violent crime through the end of September, with 8,242 people killed by gunfire and 1,643 more wounded.

Such was the disproportionate impact of gun violence on the black community that the Algiers Motel murder was seen as an egregious example of the crime wave. An NYPD cop was charged with two murders in the case, which brought national attention to American gun culture. But this year has also seen the deaths of six black police officers in just a few weeks.

“Shootings at police stations have repeatedly forced law enforcement officials to confront questions about gun violence” by demonstrating the potentially indiscriminate reach of guns, AP writes. The offices of the Monitor and American Institute of International Law, as well as publications for the American Bar Association, have all noted the increasing number of mass shootings.

In Britain, the average number of murders per 100,000 people is 208. New York City had 165, again highlighting a need for new approaches to crime. Rapes and sexual assaults are almost twice as common in the US as they are in Britain, at 1,840 and 1,257 respectively.

While there is a strong correlation between factors such as poverty and violence, differences between countries in crime control policies have helped prevent the US from repeatedly posting its highest homicide rate on record.

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