Homicide count in 2009
- Brazil 43,909
- US 15,241
- UK 724
- Denmark 47
- Iceland 1
Source: Global Study on Homicide (UN)
An interesting article online at BBC News showed this chart. The article doesn't say why Brazil has more violence than other hot countries. Instead it looks into the reverse and questions why Iceland is a good place for everyone to live.
Here are three of the possible reasons* listed:
1) A nti-Gun Shooting Culture: Police are mostly unarmed. Iceland is in 15th place globally in gun ownership per capita, but crimes usually don't involve firearms. A lone gunman firing shots in his own apartment last week was the first time a special police task force responded with firearms.
2) P revention: Iceland has a tradition of pre-empting crimes before they get worse. For example, in 1973 the government created a separate drug police and drug court and the country now has few illegal drugs. Now police and the government are working on organized crime. And speeding fines are heavy.
3) E quality: Tension between rich and poor is almost non-existent, and education promotes an egalitarian culture.
I think Iceland's cold climate might also be a fourth important influencing factor. Police and these experts say that violence around the world thrives on opportunity and picks up whenever the weather heats.
If crime is caused by opportunity, it is evidently heavily influenced and prevented by supportive anti-crime laws and a culture that does not tolerate crime socially or legally. The co-operative anti-crime cultural mentality in Iceland might help explain why the country is safest in the world despite its high gun rate. Does violence, like its well-known opposite good manners, begin at home? Cultural norms are everything in the study of violence: here is an example of how the efforts of one person made it wrong to throw litter beside highways in America.
* APE is my creation meant as a memory aid.