Belgian Statistics

Two months ago we referred to Belgian crime statistics, stating that Belgium had a higher murder and manslaughter rate than the United States. It has been pointed out to us that the Belgian and American statistics cannot be compared, since Belgium includes attempted crimes in its crime records, while America does not

Indeed, when taking a second look at the statistics we see that it explicitely says “Voltooide misdrijven en pogingen” (Concluded crimes and attempts). This is something we had not seen before, but neither had others referring to the same statistics. We dare not suggest that the remark about the inclusion of the attempts in the statistics has been added by the authorities after we posted our piece on 5 July. Hence, we apologize to our readers.

Still, we wonder why the Belgian government provides its 10 million citizens with statistics that amalgamate actual crimes and crime attempts. What is the use of figures stating, e.g., that in 2005 there were 19,935 cases of drug possessions [including attempts], 2,632 rape cases [including attempts], 81,140 cases of vandalism [including attempts], 5,053 cases of arson [including attempts], 67,002 instances of “opzettelijke slagen en verwondingen” (“deliberate beatings and beatings with injuries,” i. e. aggravated assault) [including attempts], and 910 instances of murder and manslaughter [including attempts]?

And how do the Belgian authorities define attempts? How do they decide, if confronted with a “murder or manslaughter attempt,” whether to register it in the “murder and manslaughter” category, or in the “deliberate beatings and beatings with injuries” category?

Similar in Denmark - especially the distribution of crimes

I Suppose the Truth has to be Told – or
perhaps rather not

- a retrospect of the two generation of welfare with respect to crimes and accounts of them, part 2


After new categories of counting were introduced in Denmark in 1991 – a small country with fewer inhabitants than Berlin or Paris – how did the Danish Ministry Justice then count the number of crimes in 2005 for 2004

The ministry of Justice made an account of criminal offences distributed between Danes and individuals with foreign origin. The account just includes the first generation of descendants with foreign origin. This is the fact when you look at the number of criminal acts, the offences of later generations are included in account of Danes. But much worse, the basic of population include just about half - probably less - of the group with foreign origin. This implies that the surplus criminality of immigrants is strongly overestimated.

J. E. Vig, Denmark


According to the statistics linked by futtta, manslaughter in Belgium is higher than all homicide in the US (743 in 2005 for a rate > 7/100,000).  The discrepancy is between murder and attempted murder.  futtta insists his link gives all stats while criticizing Paul Belien, but futtta's link supports Belien's wider point.

not correct i'm afraid

not correct i'm afraid lewis, the 7/10000 you mention would represent the sum of succesful ('volt.' in the pdf, from 'voltrokken' is suppose) and unsuccesfull ('pog.' in the pdf, form 'poging') manslaughter attempts, which -as explained- is not representative.

here is a summary of the figures in the report for 2005 by the belgian police;

1. murders (moord)
1.a. 'succesful': 63
1.b. unsuccesful: 124

2. manslaughter (doodslag)
2.a. 'succesful': 110
2.b. unsuccesful: 613

3. 'succesful' rape+murder (verkrachting/aanranding combined): 4

total succesful murders (including manslaughter); 63+110+4=178 for a population of 10.000.000 = 1,7 per 100.000 (vs. 5,5/100.000 in the USA).

Common sense

I would hope that also the American authorities do not make a distinction between a "crime" and an "attempted crime", at least for statistical purposes.  In fact, I am reasonably sure that an attempt to commit a crime is a crime in itself, at least in the US.  Although one may also reasonably assume that the judicial consequences could be different, depending on the particular state or jurisdinction and the particular judges/juries involved.

While the legal distinction between crime and attempted crime may be substantial, depending on the circumstances and the jurisdiction involved, from a moral perspective I see no distinction.  Human morality is essentially a matter of human INTENTION. Whoever wants to steal from another, murder another as guilty (in a moral sense) as the one who actually steals from another, murders another etc....