Violence and crime in Hungary

I heard in today’s news that an eighteen-year-old high school student died yesterday in the hospital. He was a student in a "technical school," which is perhaps the best translation of "szakközépiskola." This particular school specializes in training kids in retail. (Don’t ask me why one has to spend four years to prepare for a career in retail. But that is another question.) In any case, this particular school is located in the eighth district, not the best part of the Hungarian capital. The classmates argued inside of the school building but the actual beating occurred on the street. The victim managed to get home where he complained that he wasn’t feeling well. He was taken to the hospital but it was too late. The cause of death: a cranial fracture. Since then the police found the perpetrator, who confessed.

A few minutes later came another piece of news about a twelve-year-old boy who attacked another boy over an MP3 player.The fifteen-year old victim was taken to the hospital where he died a few hours later. The twelve-year-old is a Romanian citizen and from his picture he seems to be Gypsy. This is not the first time he has had a run-in with the police, but according to Hungarian law a boy of his age cannot be held in custody. A few hours after the crime he was back on the streets. Perhaps not surprisingly the place of the crime was again the eighth district, this time at the busy corner of Nagykőrút and Rákóczi út.

If one relied only on impressions one would think that the number of murders is increasing, but interestingly that is not the case. In 1998 there were 287 murders while in 2005 only 164. On an international scale Hungary’s murder rate is kind of middling. At about 17 per million it falls far short of Sweden’s 1.8 per million inhabitants, but it is significantly better than the USA’s 50.7 per million.

If you listen to people who lived the larger part of their lives in the Kádár regime, you will hear that democracy brought lawlessness and greed. So, out of curiosity I checked the data. The fact is that the numbers have been increasing since the mid-1960s although admittedly after 1990 the trend accelerated. The most obvious difference is that in the 1960s and 1970s a very high percentage of crimes were solved (over 80%) while after 1990 this number was often under 50%.

Offenders seem to be getting younger. For some time there has been talk about changing the law so that even a twelve-year-old could at least be placed in juvenile detention instead of letting a murderer (however young) out on the streets a few hours after he committed the crime. It is also a mystery to me why a repeated offender like the twelve-year-old boy from Romania who is apparently a fixture around Lujza Blaha tér is not shipped back to Romania and placed in the hands of the Romanian police. If for no other reason, illegal immigration should be a good enough reason to act. Even before the murder took place.

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Varangy
Guest

Good post.
What would be interesting is to find out who is murdering whom in Hungary. For example, the States average about 12,000 murders per year. What is fascinating is the fact that approx. half of those murders are black-on-black. While the other approx. half are white-on-white. (Obv I am fudging somewhat here, but by and large these figure are accurate) —– so, why is this interesting?
B/c 6% of the population (black males) count for approx. 1/2 the murders committed every year in the States!
I would love to see such figure for Hungary — my guess you would see gypsies make up more than their ‘fair share’ (relative to population) of murders.
Both instances you describe take place in the VIII. district. — I think you can draw some fairly accurate conclusions from that.

Varangy
Guest

Taking a look at this murder by capita chart: http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_percap-crime-murders-per-capita
What is almost unbelievable is how the European leaders in murder are all clustered around the Russian sphere of influence.
Rank Countries Amount (top to bottom)
#5 Russia: 0.201534 per 1,000 people
#7 Estonia: 0.107277 per 1,000 people
#8 Latvia: 0.10393 per 1,000 people
#9 Lithuania: 0.102863 per 1,000 people
#10 Belarus: 0.0983495 per 1,000 people
#11 Ukraine: 0.094006 per 1,000 people
#13 Kyrgyzstan: 0.0802565 per 1,000 people
#15 Moldova: 0.0781145 per 1,000 people
#20 Poland: 0.0562789 per 1,000 people
#21 Georgia: 0.0511011 per 1,000 people
#23 Bulgaria: 0.0445638 per 1,000 people
#25 Armenia: 0.0425746 per 1,000 people
#29 Azerbaijan: 0.0285642 per 1,000 people
#30 Finland: 0.0283362 per 1,000 people
#31 Slovakia: 0.0263303 per 1,000 people
#32 Romania: 0.0250784 per 1,000 people
Ah, Russians — violent and poor.

boiledbeefand carrots
Guest
boiledbeefand carrots

You can of course make any argument you want from those stats. You could for example state that it proves the superiority of Islamic law and society by pointing out the states in which you are least likely to get murdered are:
#61 Saudi Arabia: 0.00397456 per 1,000 people
#62 Qatar: 0.00115868 per 1,000 people
Or the cluster of countries around the U.S. with high murder rates:
#1 Colombia: 0.617847 per 1,000 people
#4 Venezuela: 0.316138 per 1,000 people
#6 Mexico: 0.130213 per 1,000 people
#19 Costa Rica: 0.061006 per 1,000 people
#24 United States: 0.042802 per 1,000 people

Varangy
Guest

@boiledbeefand carrots
Aside from Mexico (and the US) none of those countries are ‘around’ the US. But, almost all the countries I listed in regard to Russia, actually border Russia. I consider the Ukraine as part of Russia.
Also, there is a tremendous historical and cultural Russian influence in most of these countries, as most, but not all, are Slavic.
As for the superiority of Islamic law, I too advocate for swift capital punishment against capital offenses. But I dunno if the falsely accused would ever want to see the inside of an Islamic courtroom…

boiledbeefand carrots
Guest
boiledbeefand carrots

The phrase you used was “around Russian sphere of influence” just as Mexico, Costa Rica and Columbia are “around the U.S. sphere of influence”.
If you regard Ukraine as part of Russia then you have not only an extremely poor sense of history but also a poor grasp on modern-day reality.

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