Sunday, December 8, 2013

Car Accidents and Homicides in Hong Kong

I raise a cheerful topic today....I thought of this because I witnessed an utterly bizarre scene of an accident in Central.  The car had somehow driven off of the road, through the divider and into the trees.

I really hope everyone involved was okay.

Our friends and I had been discussing recently that the Hong Kong government seems to have really stepped up its efforts lately to curb drunk driving and encouarge seat belt safety.  In two different places in the last two months I have been in a cab that has driven through a police checkpoint.

I know I complain that Hong Kong is insufferably bureaucratic and inefficient in a lot of ways, but even I have to acknowledge that this city can be impressively well organized. Check out the police force's website where they have every traffic accident marked and sorted by region and type of accident. And these statistics go back for 10 years!

They also have every kind of crime in Hong Kong listed, both in detail and on a comparison-by-comparison basis. Check out the rates for homicides in Hong Kong here. They also provide figures for robbery, burglary, rape, assault, drug offenses, etc.

Given the density of Hong Kong and how crazy (utterly crazy!) taxi and bus drivers drive here, I am actually a little bit surprised that the number of car accidents is not higher.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the incredibly low numbers for homicides and violent crime. In 2012, there were 27 homicides in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a city of approximately 7.2 million people!

I mean, obviously I would love to live in a world where 27 homicides among 7.2 million people is considered high. That would be awesome. But these numbers are pretty staggering when you look at some other cities.

Another example of how safe Hong Kong is: you could leave your blackberry in the backseat of a taxi, and have it in your hand just an hour later (true story)!  Maybe that says more about the sorry state of affairs for Blackberry than it does about Hong Kong safety, but I think it is still pretty remarkable nonetheless.

Just for comparison to the US, in New York, a city of approximately 8.34 million, there were 419 homicides in the same year - and it was one of the lowest years on record. In Chicago, a city of approximately 2.7 million, there were 500 homicides in the same year.  Yikes.

In Chihuahua, Mexico's border state notorious in recent years for drug-related deaths, there were 2,783 homicides in 2012. Chihuahua has a population of approximately 850,000 people!

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