What We Do and Don't Know: Systematic Reviews and Methods

Louise Westmarland, The Open University/Univ. of Maryland

This paper explores two key areas in the reporting of homicide. First, the potential for comparing homicide rates in the UK and US over a period of time using sources such as police data and vital statistics. The second area is an examination of how these data are collected and the various procedures and processes in each country. Due to certain reporting regulations it seems that neither system can easily provide the definitive number of deaths by violent intervention per year. Even within each national jurisdiction there is a confusing variance in the number of deaths that can be considered the result of homicide, creating difficulties with the analysis of trends or differential rates of homicide internationally. Hence, in this paper we argue that it is possible to make comparisons but there should be some estimation of the incomplete nature of some data, and the over reporting of deaths by homicide in others.

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Updated 05/20/2006