Americans see less crime than Britons, Canadians

February 9, 2006
Washington Times

Historians, world leaders and assorted pundits with Yankee bashing in mind have long cultivated the idea that America is a violent place.

Not so, says Gallup, which released a report yesterday revealing that the nation is not necessarily Dodge City: The impact of crime is lower in the U.S. than in Britain, and in many cases Canada.

"The U.S. is often seen from abroad as a relatively lawless society, with murders and gun-related crimes aplenty. But a series of Gallup surveys in Great Britain, Canada and the U.S. suggest the image is somewhat distorted," noted David W. Moore of the Gallup News Service.

It's close, but the United States emerged as the least crime-ridden.

In three polls of 3,025 persons -- about 1,000 in each country -- 32 percent of the Americans said they or someone in their households had been a victim of crime of some type within the previous year. Among Canadians, the figure was 33 percent; among Britons, 36 percent.

About 71 percent of both Canadians and Britons, compared with 67 percent of Americans, said there had been more crime in their respective countries in the previous 12 months.

Gallup also asked respondents whether they had been mugged, assaulted or had property stolen, among five other unpleasant experiences. Overall, Britain proved the most dangerous, with a quarter of the respondents reporting that they or a family member had been a victim of crime. Canada and the United States were tied at 21 percent.

On specific crimes, 22 percent of the British reported their home, car or property had been vandalized. The figure was 17 percent among Canadians and 15 percent among Americans.

About 7 percent of the Britons said they had been mugged or physically assaulted; the number was 4 percent for both Canadians and Americans.

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