Murders in US very concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have 51% of the murders

NewImageVery interesting murder statistics. 

According to a 2013 PEW Research Center survey, the household gun ownership rate in rural areas was 2.11 times greater than in urban areas (“Why Own a Gun? Protection is Now Top Reason,” PEW Research Center, March 12, 2013).   Suburban households are 28.6% more likely to own guns than urban households. Despite lower gun ownership, urban areas experience much higher murder rates. 

It looks to me like we have a democrat problem, not a gun problem. 

The Distribution of Murders

The United States can really be divided up into three types of places. Places where there are no murders, places where there are a few murders, and places where murders are very common.

In 2014, the most recent year that a county level breakdown is available, 54% of counties (with 11% of the population) have no murders.  69% of counties have no more than one murder, and about 20% of the population. These counties account for only 4% of all murders in the country.

The worst 1% of counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders. As shown in figure 2, over half of murders occurred in only 2% of counties.

Murders actually used to be even more concentrated.  From 1977 to 2000,on average 73 percent of counties in any give year had zero murders. Possibly, this change is a result of the opioid epidemic’s spread to more rural areas. But that question is beyond the scope of this study.  Lott’s book “More Guns, Less Crime” showed how dramatically counties within states vary dramatically with respect to murder and other violent crime rates.

You can read all about the stats and other cities over at the Crime Prevention Research Center.  

But here are two that interest me. First, Los Angeles.

Take Los Angeles County, with 526 murders in 2014, the most of any county in the US. The county has virtually no murders in the northwestern part of the county. There was only one murder each in Beverly Hills, Hawthorne, and Van Nuys. Clearly, different parts of the county face very different risks of murder.

Van Nuys isn’t known for being very safe. But apparently its safe enough from murders. 

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And Chicago: 

Here are Chicago’s murders through the first 4.5 months of 2017 (there were 222 homicides by that point).  One small neighborhood, Austin, accounts over 25 murders.  But 23 of the 77 neighborhoods in the city have zero murders, and most of the 40 neighborhoods in orange have only one murder.  Twelve of the neighborhoods have 10 or more murders.

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If you want some correlations, here are two:

  • Most of the murders happen where democrats are in control. 
  • Most of the murders happen where gun control laws are the most stringent. 

HT: Dave G. 

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