Comparing Crime Rates among Countries: Why Be Cautious?

There are numerous reasons why learning about criminal justice from an international perspective is beneficial. From a provincial standpoint, you can gain a fresh perspective in studying and improving your country, and also discover transferable ideas from the systems of other countries. Universal benefits include more seamless international cooperation, along with improved understanding and respect for institutions and procedures of other countries.

1. One element of taking an international perspective is to compare the crime rates among different countries. List and discuss at least three reasons you should be cautious about making these comparisons. Of these reasons, which do you think are especially important? Why?

2. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, recognizing the challenges associated with comparing crime rates among nations, publishes the United Nations Survey on Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems. This resource can be effectively used to make comparisons of some crime data among countries. Please visit the most recent version of the survey at: Then choose a country from the list, other than the United States, and identify the crime rate for one specific offense. Compare the crime rate for that offense with the crime rate in the United States for the same offense. What factors might account for the difference?



Please make sure to answer both the questions, and when answering the questions please list the numbers next to them so I know which answer belongs to which question.