Crime Comparisons In Asia

January 21, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

Crime is everywhere regardless of how wealthy a country is or how poor. There are many mitigating factors that go into crime rates whether it is welfare programs or the punishments for specific types of crimes. The difference of a couple hundred miles can seem like night and day between countries in Asia. Japan has a much lower crime rate than South Korea and they are just a few hundred miles away. This article will dive into the reasons for this.

The Drug Laws

Drug laws in Asia have been noted for how harsh that they have been. Many countries in Asia had the death penalty for what some would consider a small amount. The comparison to the United States in these laws would have the perpetrator serving possibly a few years or even getting off on probation while the Asian counterpart could do 20 years or face the death penalty. Between 1991-2004, 400 people were sentenced to death by hanging in Singapore. Many of the minimum sentences for amounts that wouldn’t be a felony in the United States carry a minimum term of 12 years in prison. If the offender has been charged multiple times, it is not uncommon for them to get life in prison. If a minor is convicted of this crime, they tend to put these minors into rehab programs rather than punish them with a jail sentence. Lowering crime begins with heightening of the punishments for many crimes and many crimes such as burglary are spawned from drug addiction.

Police Recorded Rape Cases

There are many different ways that rape is classified throughout the world such as husbands in some countries are not capable of raping their wife as they are considered property. Out of the OECD countries that the United Nations looked at, there were Asian countries scattered across the list for police recorded rape cases. The lowest rape number of all countries including Europe and North America was Japan with 1.1 reported rapes per 100,000 people in the population. The highest country on this list was South Korea with a giant jump up to 13.5 rapes per 100,000 people in the population. This is a giant jump considering that these are neighboring countries. This trend between Japan and Korea spreads throughout many different crimes as the crime rates in Japan are extremely low in comparison to South Korea’s.

Intentional Homicide

This comparison of the OECD countries is labeled as such for a very specific reason. Some countries have labeled accidental death as murder depending on where it is. Other countries have manslaughter laws that protect the citizen in the case of accidental or unintentional homicide. This tends to skew numbers so to keep the numbers as realistic as possible, this examination is labeled as such. Japan has the 2nd lowest rate of intentional homicide per 100,000 people in the population with 0.5 intentional homicides. South Korea has the 6th highest with a giant jump to 3.3 intentional homicides per 100,000 people in the population. The trend continues with Japan having the lowest rates of crimes. This murder rate decreasing has been attributed to high development rates and the low levels of social inequality. The amount of people who own guns is also quite low which attributes to this as well.

Asia Is So Vast

Asia differs in so many ways since it is over such a vast amount of area. The religions differ as well with Islam being the main religion and militant Muslims being prevalent in places like Afghanistan. There are also Buddhists and countries where religion is banned as a whole. There is a direct correlation between a country being developed or labeled a developing country and their crime rate. This is because although a judicial system and law enforcement has been set up, the funding of these entities are not what already developed countries are. Some countries also are in flux with their governing body as there are militant groups threatening to take power. With all of this being a factor, it is no wonder that the crime rates differ to such an extent throughout Asia.

The Ways Crimes Are Labeled Are Different

What some would consider homicide can be called something completely different throughout the Asian continent. For example, in India there are “Dowry Deaths” where women within 7 years of their marriage are killed in a dowry related situation. Executions of women in Islamic states would have the woman committing the crime in the paperwork when she was actually brutally executed for other reasons. In some countries an accidental death from a fight would be considered murder while others would consider it manslaughter. The reporting of crimes is also something that can skew the numbers. In many countries where women are considered 2nd class citizens, rapes go unreported due to the fact that if the male who committed the crime denies the act, then the women can be charged with falsely accusing a man of rape which carries its own punishment. Though statistics will be skewed from time to time, they are a great barometer of the larger problems in societies and also what a country is doing well. The treatment of women in many of these countries lends itself to having the numbers be skewed as well. Marital rape in India for example is not considered a crime unless the victim is separated from the rapist.

Economic Factors

Generally economic factors are one of the most correlated things with crime rates. Countries with higher GDPs generally have lower crime rates but this is not always the case. The amount of money put into the judicial system and law enforcement tends to have an impact on lowering the crime rate. Countries like Japan which are very well developed are at the bottom of the Asian crime rates. This is because culturally the Japanese shy away from crime and punish criminals fairly and swiftly. The Japanese also place education at the utmost of importance. The fact that Japan is so developed also lends it to being low on crime since it has a booming industry in tech amongst other business. Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world to visit, unlike South Korea’s, where the economic progress has still left certain parts of its society in poverty and thus more likely to commit crime.

As you can see, there are many different factors that have an impact on crime rates. Some deal with money while other deal with the systems that are put into place in a country. Dealing with the larger picture will help decrease crime in the long run. Whether these are systematic changes or changes in what is culturally acceptable, there needs to be change and countries can model themselves after countries with lower crime rates.