Goudie's column repeats stereotypes
Letter to the Editor,
July 23, 2008
Chuck Goudie's conflation of fact and fiction regarding Italy's crime problem smacks of a hoary stereotype (June 21).
While it is indeed true that the Italian government has deployed 2,500 soldiers to patrol its cities, such a sinewy approach to street crime - much of it perpetrated by illegal third world immigrants - does not signify that the land John Milton called "the seat of civilization" has morphed into a peninsular Gotham City.
In truth, il bel Paese remains one of the EU's low-crime nations.
According to three unimpeachable sources - the United Nations; the International Crime Victims Survey; and the U.S. Department of Justice - Italy's murder rate of 1.2 per 100,000 inhabitants is significantly lower than the EU average of 2.8 per 100,000.
England and Wales, Canada and New Zealand are all more murderous countries.
As for the good old USA, it may well be the murder capital of industrialized nations. Even the statistics-averse Mark Twain would agree that Mr. Goudie's take on Italy is more than a bit simplistic.
Italic Institute of America