Crime at a Glance

in South Korea

First Things First

I made this blog to describe the crime of South Korea (hereafter Korea) and to compare it with that of the United States. Primary resources for Korea are official statistics, extracted from the the annual reports of two Korean law enforcement agencies: Korean National Police Agency and Supreme Prosecutors’ Office of the Republic of Korea. Other data series are also used, such as data provided by Korea National Statistical Office.

For effective descriptive statistics, I benchmarked the official website of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) under US Department of Justice, which is the primary resource for the US. However, I try to differentiate my website from the BJS’s for three conveniences: focused subjects, simplicity and easiness, and helping academics. First, I concentrate on crime and its characteristics rather than whole criminal justice system. Second, I use not only visual resources such as charts and tables, but also a trend-line in each chart for easy estimate. Finally, I provide citation information in each topic; you can copy and paste it in convenience.

For establishing comparable data, I regroup the Korean crime statistics to adjust them to the US Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) Part I index–Criminal Homicide, Forcible Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Larceny/theft, Motor Vehicle Theft, and Arson. The crime statistics of Korea are based on definitions provided by Korean penal code. Korean legal system, which is called the Continental Law or Civil Law system, has different point of view toward each offense from the US system.

The different legal systems do not allow equivalent comparison. In the classification of offenses, for example, to satisfy the definition of forcible rape, the UCR requires sexual penetration. Korean penal code, on the other hand, has a provision, “forcible obscene acts upon women,” which does not require the sexual penetration. This is, however, added up to forcible rape in the crime data. In addition, each offense is codified into specific provisions; for instance, a robbery comprises 10 provisions– robbery, habitual robbery, robbery with rape, robbery with injury, robbery taking hostages, etc.

To solve these disagreements, therefore, I set the Korean data, based on more specific provisions, to the UCR Part I offenses, following relatively more broad guidance.


1 Comment »

  1. I love your site!

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    Comment by Michael Tim | February 28, 2009 | Reply

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