America retains its reputation as a disproportionately dangerous country.

WITH one of the highest murder rates among OECD countries—second only to Mexico—America retains its reputation as a disproportionately dangerous country. The number of violent assaults in America is comparable to those of other western countries, yet murders are much more common. The prevalence of guns goes a long way toward explaining America’s terrible record—they are used in two-thirds of all murders. Americans are five times as likely to be murdered as Brits but over 40 times as likely to be murdered with a gun.
America has become a much safer place over the past two decades however, but public sentiment has yet to catch on to the fact. In 1993, near the peak of America’s crime wave, 7 out of every 100,000 people aged 12 and up were gunned down. That number has since halved. But guns play a large role in suicides too. In 2013, 21,175 Americans killed themselves with guns, while 11,208 were killed by others. Men are four times as likely to kill themselves despite making fewer attempts, in no small part because their preferred method (guns) of suicide is so much more reliable than the alternatives. The rate at which people kill themselves with guns has increased since 2006.

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