Crime: The Deadliest Year Yet

Here's a category in which the U.S. still leads the world: homicides, with roughly 25,000 in 1991

Why do Americans kill one another in such appalling numbers? By the time police add up the final tally, 1991 will be the bloodiest year in U.S. history: as many as 25,000 murders, compared with last year's record of 23,440. The U.S. homicide rate -- by far the highest in the Western world -- may average about 10 killings for every 100,000 citizens, vs. 1.3 in Japan and 5.5 in Britain. Every 22 minutes, another American is shot, stabbed, beaten or strangled to death.

No place seems exempt from the slaughter. New homicide records have been set in cities as large...