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Crime is a punishable offense (Reichel, 1999). This paper compares three types of crimes namely murder, property crime offenses, and rape cases in three different countries: the United States, Mexico, and Japan. The data shown in the table below are based on the statistical compilation of crime as well as arrest data specifically reported by agencies of law enforcement. The discussion will be general and mostly based on the crime index.

The table shows the level of crime in the USA, Japan, and Mexico.

Country
Crime data
Murder Property crime offense Rape cases Crime Index
2012 2013 2012 2013 2012 2013 2014
United States 8653 8855 9244701 8,975,438 5.5 per 100,000 5.8per 100,000 people 50.15
Mexico 38,024
25,818
67.18 per 100,000 people 57.18 per 100,000 people 13.05 per 100,000 14.26 per 100,000 52.46
Japan 0.74 per 100,000 people
0.06 per 100,000 people
4,673 3,673 1.2 per 100,000 0.1 per 100,000 18.10

Source: Author.

Factors contributing to an increased or reduced rate of crime in the three countries

Law enforcement agencies

In the United States, crime is slightly coming down because of enhanced law enforcement agencies whose main functions comprise detection, prevention, as well as investigation of offenses and the apprehension of those who are alleged to have committed mistakes (Conser, Paynich, & Gingerich, 2013). There are very many law enforcement agencies in the US and some of the federal ones include the United States customs, FBI and Border Protection, ATF as well as the secret service.

The crime index in Mexico is higher than that of the US and Japan and this is attributed partly to the disorganization of law enforcement agencies (Saragoza, Ambrosi, & Dolores, 2012). There are a number of law enforcement organizations and police that provide internal security. However, their jurisdictions and responsibilities often overlap making it hard for them to work properly.

The rate of crime in Japan is much lower in comparison with US and Mexico because their system of law enforcement is highly checked and controlled. For instance, the Prefectural Police usually enforce the law but under the supervision of the NPA or simply the National Police Agency (Parker, 2011). The importance of NPA is to ensure that Japanese police are not political and not influenced by the national government. In addition, the police and NPA are strictly monitored by an independent judiciary. The media also play some role in monitoring the effectiveness of the law enforcement agencies.

The reduced rate of crime in Japan also alludes to tough laws that control ownership of guns (Parker, 2011). The country outlawed gun ownership in the mid-1960s with ruthless punishment, such as the death penalty, for criminal offenders. Japan also has a reintegration justice system that aims at preventing and even reducing crime-related cases (Reichel, 1999). There are some small neighborhood police posts that are wholly integrated into the lives of locals and significantly contribute to the safety of people both at local and city levels. The reintegration system does not only involve the judiciary, it also involves members of the public. That is, locals are tightly packed in groups and collectively work and share issues. If someone commits a crime in Japan, all members of the community aim to reprimand him. Unlike in the United States, the issue is left to the police and family of the victim to pursue the issue. Japan also does not allow other cultures to thrive, instead, they encourage immigrants to learn and embrace local culture, which is not the case with the US. As such, it is hard for someone to bring in some dangerous behaviors from outside.

The rate of crime has steadily increased in Mexico compared to the crime index in the United States. Since Mexico is highly known for drug trafficking as well as the heightened violence involving drug dealers, many people associate high levels of crime with an increased rate of crime (Saragoza et al., 2012). However, this is not always the case as there are many other factors such as the justice system, economic conditions, and societal norms that contribute towards the issue.

Inequality and ineffectiveness of the judicial system

Inequality seems to be the major factor explaining the higher rate of crime in Mexico, as compared to Japan and the United States. The gap between the rich and the poor is very high. There is increased rivalry, especially between unemployed groups (Saragoza et al., 2012). As such, the increased rate of crime in Mexico is attributed to the outcome of young people who struggle to find some ways to survive. The high rate of crime, especially gang violence, is attributed to the history of the country during the civil war. Mexico went through the most ruthless political violence during the 1980s cold war times. Other factors include the social fabric that is highly strained (Saragoza et al., 2012). Since a good number of people are poor, they spend most of their time looking for the next meal and not on things that build not just families, but also societies.

The ineffectiveness of the judicial system also contributes to the high rate of crime in Mexico (Reichel, 1999). That is the absence of transparency in both police and court dealings along with high levels of corruption, which are major hindrances to justice, hence, the increased rate of crime. The location of the country also contributes to the high rate of crime, especially gun violence. That is Mexico’s neighbor countries like the United States which serve as major sources of guns.

Increased policing

The rate of crime in the United States and Japan has been near-constant for the last three years, although statistics vary when states and cities are evaluated individually. Generally, the rate of homicide cases has decreased and this is attributed to several factors including policing (Reichel, 1999). In New York City, there is a “stop and frisk” policing method that has helped to contain many crimes.

The downward trend in the level of crime in the US is also attributed to the changes in social life (Conser et al., 2013). It must be remembered that, since most crimes are associated with race, times before the 1990s were characterized by race and class divisions with blacks targeting whites out of hate and whites targeting blacks for similar reasons. These days, crime is unlikely as a result of great changes in social lives. That is, the way people interrelate with each other, as well as changes in cultural practices, justice systems, and institutions.

Since the highest number of offenses is committed by young people, this has some link to the American historical past. There were many young people in the 1960s and 1970s as a result of enhanced economic growth. During this time the rate of crime also went up (Conser et al., 2013). But today, the population is majorly composed of aging people and fewer young people are the only ones who engage in crime activities.

References

Conser, J., Paynich, R., & Gingerich, T. (2013). Law enforcement in the United States. Burlington, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Parker, L. (2011). The Japanese police system today : a comparative study. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe.

Reichel, P. (1999). Comparative criminal justice systems. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Prentice Hall.

Saragoza, A., Ambrosi, A., & Dolores, S. (2012). Mexico today: an encyclopedia of life in the republic. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, cop.

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IvyPanda. "Comparing the Rate of Crime between the US, Japan, and Mexico." September 12, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparing-the-rate-of-crime-between-the-us-japan-and-mexico/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Comparing the Rate of Crime between the US, Japan, and Mexico." September 12, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/comparing-the-rate-of-crime-between-the-us-japan-and-mexico/.

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