I didn't do much research into other cross-country crime measures so I'm definitely curious to learn more about other ways of getting at this.
But to me the most obvious reason to favor homicide is reporting. Partially because it's fresh in my mind, I'd recommend The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society (from 1967). Starting at page 25 they go through changes in reporting that caused huge blips in measured crime in the US. I think the authors may have wanted to play down the crime increase for political reasons, but even discounting them somewhat they do identify issues in measurement that could easily persist today and be way worse in other countries.
I really want to try this...From a few minutes of googling it seems pretty hard to find this info for other countries. Will update if I'm able to cobble the data together.
That makes sense. So I guess a correction where we assumed all countries had US-level healthcare would scoot the poorer countries to the left in the scatter plot...I think this could dampen trendline but would still leave the US looking pretty weird.
Good question--my reasoning was that homicide is well-measured and easy to find online, and should correlate with levels of crime more broadly. I wonder what variable we would want to address the Thailand issue...maybe the share of prisoners who are "violent" would be useful, but I'd be surprised if I could find it for many countries.