15 Dec 2022


Comparative Criminology: An Overview

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Comparative criminology deals with the study of crime and crime control systems across different countries/cultures. The major objective of comparative criminology is to apprehend the similarities and differences in crime and crime control systems amongst societies. According to Dammer & Albanese, (2013), the concept of comparative criminology is based on the crime information reported mostly to the United Nations based on various statistical surveys on crime levels and criminal justice trends that have been reported by victims to the authorities of any given country. Therefore, this means that the official crime data presented by various states is subject to some accuracy problems due to the following three major methodological difficulties: 

Different specific crime definitions in different countries : Crimes are recorded into different categories depending on a particular country’s legal definition of crime (Dammer & Albanese, 2013). Therefore, in the case where the definition is different, then the comparisons will not be made of the same crime type. This usually happens in cases where the crimes committed require some discretion from law enforcement officers for identification. 

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Different reporting levels and traditional regulations : Different cultures across the globe have several levels of reporting criminal occurrences. Different reporting levels mostly depend on development levels in the society which can be reflected more clearly depending on police accessibility. Therefore, various factors especially the number of police stations and the communication medium such as telephones in any society influence upon crime reporting levels. Also, in societies where the police are not trusted by the society member’s crime reporting levels are likely to be lower than in societies where the police are regarded as trustworthy and important members of the society (Dammer & Albanese, 2013). 

Different social, economic and political settings : Various societies have varying social, economic and political contexts hence comparing crime statistical data from such societies that are primarily different may cause some key issues that may be present in such society and influencing the crime reporting level to be ignored (Dammer & Albanese, 2013). The best example is different social rules in some cultures which discourage and even make it impossible for women to report crime cases especially sexual abuse, whereas, in others societies, women are empowered and mostly encouraged to come forward and report any case of slight sexual abuse. 

According to statistical data provided by World Health Organization in 2008, the homicide rate in Somalia stood at an estimated rate of 1.5 deaths per every 100, 000 persons living in Somalia which may not reflect the true figure as WHO uses country-specific information registered in other countries in the region (Linke & Raleigh, 2011). Further, according to WHO 2008 data on homicide rate, among 42 sampled Europe countries the average male homicide rate was 4.2 while the female was 1.5. The rate is very low compared to rates in 6 sampled Northern Africa countries where the homicide rate stood at 8.6 and 3.7 for male and female respectively (Linke & Raleigh, 2011). 


Linke, A., & Raleigh, C., (2011). State and stateless violence in Somalia. African Geographical Review 30, 47–66 

Dammer, H. R., & Albanese, J. S. (2013).   Comparative criminal justice systems . Cengage Learning. 

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