Saturday, June 18, 2016

Society of Medical Jurisprudence Examines High Murder Rate in U.S., 1916

“Murder in the United States,” from the editorial page of the Arizona Republican, Dec. 28, 1916

Startling not because of their novelty, but because of a serious condition of affairs which they reveal, are the statistics compiled by Henry A. Forster, a New York lawyer, which he used in an address in New York before the Society of Medical Jurisprudence, to show that the United States leads the world among civilized nations, in the number of homicides committed annually, while the number of convictions is in proportion very much smaller. The number of executions was only 119. The murder rate in the United States for the period of 1909-1913 was 6.4 per 100,000 of population. The murder rate in England and Wales for the same period was 0.8 and for Italy 3.6. It is a notorious fact that the murder rate is higher in the United States than it is even in Canada, and that the percentage of convictions is lower. Lynchings, which are of such frequent occurrence in the United States, and the number of which in the 10 years ending with 1903 was 3,337, are unknown elsewhere in the civilized world except in remote regions of Russia. Human life is held in lighter esteem here than in other civilized nations, and the law more often proves inadequate for the punishment of capital crimes.

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