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Using Newly Available Homicide Data to Debunk Two Myths About Violence in an International Context: A Research Report

NCJ Number
Homicide Studies Volume: 5 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2001 Pages: 267-275
Date Published
August 2001
9 pages

This article uses data from Russia to debunk two myths about violence in an international context.


The article uses newly available crime and vital statistics data from Russia to debunk two myths about violence in an international context. The first myth is that the United States is the most violent industrialized nation in the world. The second myth is that, despite other problems associated with Soviet society, at least the totalitarian regime was able to maintain low rates of crime and violence. The article is based on data from the Russian Ministry of the Interior, which now publishes several books with summary statistics on crime and juvenile delinquency. In addition, some data were drawn from the Russian State Committee for Statistics, which produces a wide range of publications with social and economic indicators. Not only is the current Russian homicide victimization rate more than three times higher than in the United States, it has been comparable to or higher than the US rate for at least the past 35 years. The article claims that these data suggest the need to undertake further and more methodologically sound international and comparative research to discover whether the factors commonly associated with high rates of violence in the United States are generalizable to other nations or may be culture specific. Figures, notes, references

Date Published: August 1, 2001