A Tale of Two Cities: Victims of Homicide in London and New York

Catriona Woolner, Middlesex University

The quantitative difference in homicide rates between the United States and England and Wales is oft-cited and well established. However, differences in the nature of homicide, in terms of who is being killed and by whom, in what circumstances, and by what method, are under-researched, yet such differences could help to shed some light on why it is that the United States suffers a level of homicide significantly higher than that of comparable nations.

Using homicide data compiled for London by the Home Office from 1977 to 2001 and the FBI's Supplementary Homicide Reports 1976 to 1999, this paper will explore differences in homicide between the capital cities of both nations, London and New York, during the last quarter of the 20th century. These cities are comparable in terms of the size of their populations, they share common demographic characteristics, such as ethnic diversity, and they serve as nerve centres for the global economy.

When comparing homicide data for two different countries, there are differences in what is recorded and how. Such differences between the New York and London data are significant and these will be highlited and discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006