Friday, April 29, 2005

World Crime

One of the most important challenges the west is facing today is decreasing crime and making sure that it'll continue to decrease. A certain kind of a minimum will be reached until someone comes up with something like that Pre-Crime system from "Minority Report" (just don't count on it ;-). In other words - most likely we will always have to deal with crime. If the minimum - or something close to it - has already been reached then we must aim to stabilize things so that a disastrous increase in crime is no longer possible under any circumstances.

I have made some simple research and come up with homicide statistics for some countries. The sources have been listed at the bottom of this entry. What I found out was that the not-so-western western country
Japan is clearly the most peaceful nation (perhaps of the whole world if we exclude all tiny nations) where almost every homicide is solved. However - Japan has a high rate of suicides.

The leader of the west - the US - the most Christian western nation and the home of the infamous 2nd Amendment - is the most violent (homicides per capita) 1st World western nation which really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. On September 11th 2001 - three thousand people were murdered by fanatics - but since that event Americans have killed each other by more than 40 000 (although homicide rates have been going down ever since -93). However one has to remember that each state has its own laws and regulations and homicide rates vary from relatively low rates in certain areas of New England to extremely high rates in District of Colombia & California. Gun control laws, three-strikes convictions, death penalty etc. - all show mixed results of whether these regulations actually help to decrease crime or whether they help to increase it. During the last decade US crime dropped almost dramatically.

Since some former East Block countries joined the EU last year the EU homicide average went up but even in these new EU countries the crime statistics show some improvements. Out of EU countries Finland is one of the most violent with a relatively high rate of homicides (highest if we exclude the new EU countries which joined in -04) and assaults mostly due to massive consumption of alcohol. Finland also has a high number of suicides (per capita is higher than that of Japan's). The good news is that nearly all homicide cases are solved (applies to other crimes as well) and there's no corruption among the law enforcement forces in Finland (In fact - suggests that Finland has the smallest amount of corruption out of all countries in the world).

This is nothing compared to extremely high homicide & crime rates in Russia. Sketchy estimates & reports indicate that there were at least 30 000 homicides in Russia in 2004. That's almost twice the amount of the US although Russia's population is about 50% smaller than that of the US. The Russian police is facing serious difficulties in solving these crimes and many lack the motivation to put their energy on chasing criminals when the pay is low and the public don't show much trust toward the police. Corruption levels are also extremely high in many levels of the government.

The most violent places on Earth - which are not in a state of war at the moment - are in Africa (South-Africa) & South America (Colombia).

Comparing homicide rates straight the way I'm doing now is of course unfair. Cultural differences are a factor too. Japan has its customs with honor ("don't do anything which would bring dishonor to the family" etc.), the US has loose gun control laws and the US is a huge mix of colliding cultures, Finland has its traditions with alcohol, Russia is corrupted and weak, population densities in multicultural areas such as in New York City lead to conflicts etc.

Statistics (homicides per 100 000)

1st World:
5,63 United States - 16503 homicides in 2003
2,83 Finland - 148 homicides in 2004
2,10 Sweden - 189 homicides in 2003
1,68 Canada - 548 homicides in 2003
1,21 Denmark - 66 homicides in 2004
1,17 New Zealand - 45 homicides in 2000
1,11 Japan - 1419 homicides in 2004

2nd World:
42,7 South-Africa - in 2003
20,86 Russia - 30 000 (est.) homicides in 2004
7,82 Estonia - 105 homicides in 2004

I also would like to state that the text above may contain errors and I apologize for them. You may check for more information. Use words like "Japan Statistics", "Crime in UK" etc.

Sources (many others were used as well just to make sure that the numbers I have are at least close to right amounts):

South Africa Statistics

Denmark Statistics

NRA Statistics for US crime Crime

Kriminalstatistik 2003

Violence in the UK


Estonia Statistics

Japan Statistics Bureau

Japan Information Network

Nation Master


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bush on energy issues

In his latest radio address President Bush talks about a new energy bill and notes some of the difficulties many Americans (and the rest of us) are facing with today's energy policies. There's some talk about conservation, research, means of delivery and energy sources. Nothing really stands out and it's all pretty much common knowledge (at least it should be) but the good thing is that it's public once again and that it's being dealt with.

Maybe the most important point he's making is the simple fact that we must start investing in research! Research doesn't mean just that more money will go to waste but that it can actually lead to new applications, innovations, jobs and businesses. This is perhaps the single most important issue of the whole bunch. The oil will hit the peak most likely within a few decades and from then on the prices won't drop anymore - they'll increase day by day until all available oil resources have been used.
-"Every source of power that we use today started with the power of human invention, and those sources have served us well for decades."

There's also some talk about doing this in an "environmentally friendly way" which of course seems to be just talk. Keeping up with the current way of things and putting more money on research unfortunately won't leave much room for conservation but that's just the reality we have to face. And if we're in luck the money that is being directed toward technological research pays back with more environmental friendly applications and means to produce energy. But at the moment unfortunate issues - like drilling oil in certain parts of Alaska - are just something that we must take as necessities.

The address says that Congress will begin debates about these issues next week and hopefully they come up with something productive. And if more time and talk is needed then fine - let's make room for that and welcome more debate about how to deal with these issues in a way that ends up pleasing most of us.,2933,153670,00.html