The United States has the highest incarceration rate, highest average firearms per 100 people, highest homicides per 100,000 people, and the lowest safety and security ranking of the 12 countries in this comparison.

Crime and Incarceration

GreenRanked first for statistic
RedRanked last for statistic
Average Firearms per 100 PeopleHomicides per 100,000 PeopleTotal Number of Adults in PrisonPrisoners per 100,000 PeopleExecutionsDeath PenaltyPerception of SafetySafety and Security Ranking
Average % Yes% Female% Male
United Kingdom7.11.1282,1761370no80788210
United States120.56.521,675,40050517yes72.5608527


Average Firearms per 100 People: Small Arms Survey, 2017

United Kingdom value calculated from average of Northern Ireland, Scotland, England & Wales.

Homicides per 100,000 people: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2020

Intentional homicide per 100,000. United Kingdom value for 2018.

Columns 3 – 4: World Prison Brief

From 2020 except for Australia, Japan, Netherlands (2021) and United States (2020).

Columns 5 – 6: Amnesty International Global Report, 2020/21

Executions were for the year 2020.

Perception of Safety: 2018 Human Development Statistical Update

Perception of safety is divided by gender in this more recent report (see pg. 82), the average was taken. 2012 – 2017.

Safety and security Ranking: The Legatum Prosperity Index, 2021

Page updated on 1/31/2023.


“Other Countries Had Mass Shootings. Then They Changed Their Gun Laws.”

Mark Fisher
May 25, 2022.
Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway: All had a culture of gun ownership, and all tightened restrictions anyway. Their violence statistics now diverge sharply from those of the U.S.

“America’s incarceration rate is at a two-decade low”

John Gamlich
May 2, 2018.
The U.S. incarceration rate fell to its lowest point of the past two decades in 2016. This could be due to a decline in crime rates as well changes in judicial patterns and criminal laws that, for example, have led to prison sentence reductions. Despite this, the U.S. remains the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world.

“What can America learn from systems of incarceration around the world?”

Michelle Alexander
March 18, 2016.
Baz Dreisinger’s book, “Incarceration Nations”, details how other prison systems around the world compare to the U.S. prison system. In Norway, for example, prisons are small (usually fewer than 50 people), spread out to allow prisoners to be closer to family, and the prison sentences are drastically shorter. In addition, quality education, universal health care and free child care are provided.