Homicide Trend 1970-2005 for US, UK and Sweden

Homicide rate (homicide cases per 100 000 population) trend comparison for 3 countries: US, UK and Sweden for year from 1970 to 2005.


  1. Joakim Palovaara said,

    October 10, 2007 at 10:04 am

    Hi, noticed that the homicide trend in sweden is wrong. SCB (statens statistiska centralbyrå) reports the wrong numbers. They use numbers from the police datasystem and in this system suspected homicide is reported, thus in 2005 about 93 homicides occured and the rest (about 150) was later ruled to be accidental deaths, unexplained deaths or deaths of swedes in foreign countries. This datasystem was introduced in the beginning of the 90s and thats the reason for the rise in “homicides”. In reality the real homicide rate has been stable around 90-100 a year since the 70s (1.05 per 100 000 population).


  2. micpohling said,

    October 10, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Hi, thanks for the input. I got my number from Brå (national council for crime prevention). So I guess if there is any correction from the Bra, I am looking forward to having the revised numbers.
    As for the possibility listed in your comment and from wikipedia, I was wondering could the same thing happen to US or UK system as well? Moreover, if let’s say homicides in Sweden maintains at 90-100 cases per year, for year 2006 they would have to knock out 140 cases (240 homicides reported, 24 of them were done overseas). In additional to that, using my CSI common sense (:P), if the police suspect there is any homicide, won’t there be any autopsy be done to confirm the case? I mean we are not talking a really big number here, 240 cases per year, that is like 2 cases for every 3 days.
    Well, if SCB/police data system is really screwed up, they are putting up the not really nice number up in UN (UNODC) as well 😦

  3. Joakim Palovaara said,

    October 10, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Hi, the reason why every suspicious death (or death in another country) is reported as homicide in the police database is to get those cases the highest priority. Of course these deaths are investigated and many deaths are ruled as something other than homicide after the investigation (including the autopsy). The main flaw (and problem) is that BRÅ (which report the number to SCB, the main goverment body that gather swedish statistics) take the number from this database and do not correct the number after investigation by the police. BRÅ report the reported number of homicides and not the actual number of homicides. They also report (separate) the number of solved homicides during a year, but these numbers, of course, include homicide cases from previous years also. I don´t know why they don´t change the way they report these statistics.
    This is why one have to be catious when comparing crime statistics between countries. Another example is rape. The last couple of years the rape rate has really risen in Sweden. The main cause for this is that the law was changed some years ago to include some cases that would be prosecuted as sexual assault before (of course this is probably not the only cause, i.e. more people are maybe willing to report rape, more rapes are commited). Comparing theft is also complicated because in Sweden, if somebody steals 5 bicycles (for example) the indiviual gets prosecuted 5 times for each one of those bicycles. In other countries (where the law is different) he/she could be prosecuted once for the theft of those bicycles.

    At least the BRÅ statistics are somewhat better than the statistics released by Interpol a couple of years ago (I think 2003). They reported homicides rates from different countries and the numbers they used from Sweden included, besides “homicides”, attempted homicide. They reported that Sweden had 900 homicides (about 10 per 100 000) the year before. This was used in an article from the Economist and after that some people (especially to the right) use this number to “prove” that Sweden is a highly criminal place (because of the socialistic influence in our society I guess). Personally I try not to compare statistics between countries and base my complete argument on that (which many, both to the left and right, do). However, these comparisons can be good if you want to look on general trends.

  4. Joakim Palovaara said,

    October 10, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    I found this.


    How many murders are committed annually?
    When it comes to lethal violence, the statistics for reported crime do not give a fair picture of the actual number of cases of lethal violence. The crimes that are reported to the police and that the police report to the Council are an estimate of the actual number of cases of lethal violence. For example, there are cases that subsequently prove to be natural deaths, suicides or accidents. However, specialist studies show that over the past thirty years there have been an average of around 100 cases of murder, manslaughter and abuse resulting in death per year.

  5. micpohling said,

    October 10, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Well, BRÅ surely has to do better work than current one, don’t they? But in a sense, does BRA has any “reason” to push the numbers high instead of lower it. After all, high homicides number is not exactly something to be bragged about 😛 Anyway, I just have to rely on what the official report from BRÅ.
    I think I would be going for reported homicides number instead of solved homicides number – as reason you stated above, and the reality that not all cases will be solved. Even if it is solved, it does not neccessarily means that the suspect is guilty until proven in court.
    As for rape cases, I had the rape trend uploaded too not long ago:
    May be you can see whether the trend is reasonable or not. It looks reasonable to me, no spike jump, except at the end of 80s.

  6. Joakim Palovaara said,

    October 10, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    No, there is no reason for BRÅ to push the numbers. They just report the reported homicide, just like they report the reported of everything else. The problem, as stated above, is that reported doesn´t mean actual. When it comes to rape, well the number for 2005 is much higher than the rest (and thats because of the new law). It would be interesting to look if the law has changed more over the years, i.e. if they changed the law in the 70s, 80s, and 90s and compare with reported rape cases. But you are right, the trend is reasonable.

    When it comes to rape its really tricky to compare between countries because of different laws and the fact that many cases goes unreported depending on culture. In Sweden the definition of rape is pretty wide while in other countries it can be very narrow (in Sweden force is not necessary for it to be rape, if a girl is obviously too drunk, i.e. almost passed out, you could be charge with rape if you have sex with her, even if she don´t say no). Personally I find it interesting that in USA, laws can differ between states and this makes it kind of impossible to compare rape rate between USA and other countries. Statistics, always a lot of fun.

  7. October 14, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    […] Homicide Trend 1970-2005 for US, UK and SwedenHomicide rate (homicide cases per 100 000 population) trend comparison for 3 countries: US, UK and Sweden for year from 1970 to 2005. […]

  8. Jesper said,

    July 3, 2009 at 12:23 am

    Yeap, you can’t read Swedish, thats your problem but the murder rate in Sweden is less: 1.05 / 100.000 peoplez.
    Just read de murder rate in Holland in 2008, 163 murders / 16.4 million peoplez = 0.09 / 100.000 people.

    Europe is just so much safer then the United States of America, you can not compare it. Its just not a safe place for kids too ! Its like the film: Shooting City !

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