Statistics to Worry About, or Not Really?

Murder sells big in the news media. It easily appears like there is a huge epidemic going on, while it is essentially untrue. Well, it may be true based off of what any given person considers to be an epidemic.

According to the FBI crime statistics, in 2013 there were 14,196 murders and non-negligent manslaughters. This is a rate of 4.5 murders per 100,000 people in the United States. This translates to the chances of any given individual to be murdered at 0.0045%.

Now, in reality, your chances of being murdered may actually be much lower depending on where you live, or even much higher. Such as in Chicago, Illinois there were 414 murders according to the FBI stats and a population of 2,720,554 which puts your chances at .0152%. While the city of Burbank, just 14 miles from the center of Chicago has a population of 29,183 and 2 murders, putting your chances there at .0068%.

Consequently, the City of Seattle, Washington had 19 murders in a population of 642,814, putting your chances there at .0029%. Then the city of Bellevue, about 10 miles from the center of Seattle, had 1 murder and a population of 127,678. This means your chances of being murdered there are at .0008%.

We can also take comparisons of cities of equal populations, such as lets compare Seattle, WA with Washington DC. Washington DC has a population of 646,449 and has 103 murders. So a city with equivalent population has just over 5 times as many murders. Washington DC, your chance of being murdered is at .0159%.

Now, what one might consider is the differences between these cities. One big difference is the fact that Washington DC and Chicago have very strict gun control laws, while Seattle does not hold the same restrictions. However, there likely are also huge cultural differences between Seattle, Washington DC, and Chicago which may drive some of the violence. In fact, most of the murders have more to do with gang culture than just random murderous acts. Even the latest murder of the news reporters show that there was a major motive to committing the murder as opposed to just somebody looking to murder somebody.

So your chances of being murdered aren’t exactly the roll of a dice, but more likely you would have put yourself in a situation where being murdered is in the cards or somebody has generally threatened you in such a way as there is a chance they may murder you.

So, let’s do something. Lets take out the top murder cities of all of the states in the United States. I will use a formula of removing the city with the most murders in each state as well as any city with at least 50 murders. So some states may have more than one city removed and some states may have one city on the list that may have less than 50 murders. So, for example, Seattle, WA with its 19 murders will be on the list. These are the Statistics for 2013.

State City Population Murder and
nonnegligent
manslaughter
Murder Rate
Per 100k
Murder %
Alabama Birmingham 212001 63 29.7168409583 0.029716841
Alaska Anchorage 299455 14 4.6751598738 0.0046751599
Arizona Phoenix 1502139 118 7.8554647739 0.0078554648
Arkansas Little Rock 197399 35 17.7305862745 0.0177305863
California Los Angeles 3878725 251 6.4711986542 0.0064711987
California Oakland 403887 90 22.2834604729 0.0222834605
Colorado Denver 648981 40 6.1635086389 0.0061635086
Connecticut Hartford 124927 23 18.4107518791 0.0184107519
Delaware Wilmington 71460 19 26.5883011475 0.0265883011
District of Columbia Washington 646449 103 15.9331981332 0.0159331981
Florida Jacksonville 845745 93 10.9962222656 0.0109962223
Florida Miami 418394 71 16.9696506164 0.0169696506
Georgia Atlanta 451020 84 18.6244512438 0.0186244512
Idaho Boise 214330 3 1.3997107264 0.0013997107
Illinois Chicago 2720554 414 15.2174887909 0.0152174888
Indiana Gary 78819 54 68.5113995356 0.0685113995
Indiana Indianapolis 850220 129 15.172543577 0.0151725436
Iowa Des Moines 207391 11 5.3039910121 0.005303991
Kansas Kansas City 147618 28 18.9678765462 0.0189678765
Kentucky Louisville Metro 671120 48 7.1522231494 0.0071522231
Louisiana New Orleans 377022 156 41.376895778 0.0413768958
Maine Bangor 32744 3 9.1619838749 0.0091619839
Maryland Baltimore 622671 233 37.4194398005 0.0374194398
Massachusetts Boston 643799 39 6.0577913293 0.0060577913
Michigan Detroit 699889 316 45.1500166455 0.0451500166
Minnesota Minneapolis 396206 36 9.0861824404 0.0090861824
Mississippi Jackson 176039 50 28.4027971075 0.0284027971
Missouri Kansas City 465514 99 21.2668147467 0.0212668147
Missouri St. Louis 318563 120 37.6691580629 0.0376691581
Montana Billings 107802 4 3.7105062986 0.0037105063
Nebraska Omaha 425076 42 9.8805860599 0.0098805861
Nevada Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department 1500455 97 6.4647057059 0.0064647057
New Hampshire Manchester 110411 4 3.6228274357 0.0036228274
New Jersey Newark 278246 112 40.2521509743 0.040252151
New Mexico Albuquerque 558165 37 6.6288642247 0.0066288642
New York New York 8396126 335 3.9899353583 0.0039899354
North Carolina Charlotte-Mecklenburg 837638 59 7.0436154998 0.0070436155
North Dakota Fargo 111101 3 2.7002457224 0.0027002457
Ohio Cincinnati 296491 70 23.6094856168 0.0236094856
Ohio Cleveland 389181 55 14.1322418104 0.0141322418
Oklahoma Oklahoma City 605034 62 10.2473579997 0.010247358
Oklahoma Tulsa 394498 60 15.2092025815 0.0152092026
Oregon Portland 609136 14 2.2983373171 0.0022983373
Pennsylvania Philadelphia 1553153 247 15.9031338188 0.0159031338
Rhode Island Providence 178887 12 6.7081453655 0.0067081454
South Carolina North Charleston 103324 13 12.5817815803 0.0125817816
South Dakota Souix Falls 161754 3 1.8546681999 0.0018546682
Tennessee Memphis 657691 124 18.8538386568 0.0188538387
Texas Dallas 1255015 143 11.3942861241 0.0113942861
Texas Houston 2180606 214 9.8137857091 0.0098137857
Texas San Antonio 1399725 72 5.1438675454 0.0051438675
Utah Salt Lake City 190246 7 3.6794466112 0.0036794466
Vermont Essex 20199 1 4.9507401357 0.0049507401
Virginia Richmond 212830 37 17.3847671851 0.0173847672
Washington Seattle 642814 19 2.9557539195 0.0029557539
West Virginia Oak Hill 7709 2 25.9437021663 0.0259437022
Wisconsin Milwaukee 600805 104 17.3101089372 0.0173101089
Wyoming Gillette 31884 2 6.2727386777 0.0062727387
Total 42139083 4697 11.146421957 0.011146422
Totals Without Top Cities 273989756 9499 3.4669179383 0.0034669179
Total U.S. Pop Minus Top City Rates 316128839 9499 3.0047875512 0.0030047876

As you can see, depending on whether the entire population is also reduced in size based on the population of the cities you go from 4.5 murders per 100,000 to 3.5 per 100,000 by avoiding these cities, or from 4.5 to 3.0 per 100,000. What is also interesting is that population doesn’t really correlate to increases and decreases in murders. New York City, for example, has a lot of murders, but it’s murder rate is lower than the national average while Newark, New Jersey has 40 times less population than New York but ten times the murder rate.

The main reasoning for most all gun control groups to implement gun control is the idea that guns are one of the main causes of murder. That is, the more guns there are the more murders there will be. Or the less strict the gun laws are, the more murders there will be. But it doesn’t actually seem to translate because Seattle is in a state that is not very strict as far as gun laws, and it’s murder rate is quite a bit below the national average and way below average for having the most murders in the state and being a large city. While Washington DC has strict gun laws, and a much higher murder rate. However more guns doesn’t necessarily mean less murders either. New York City has strict gun control, and a below average murder rate for the country, while Texas cities like Houston and Dallas, which aren’t too strict with gun laws have murder rates 2-2.5 times the national average.

This article was typed up to look at murder rates specifically. Murders are the reasoning for gun control, not any other crime, so this is a way to look at murder statistics to find out whether or not the gun is the problem and whether murder is truly an epidemic. Overall violent crime may be affected in some way by individual possession of firearms, however as far as murders go, the gun appears to not be the problem or the solution. Is murder an epidemic? If it was tied to city populations or the laws of the cities or states, it may be. However, there seems to be no correlation in those senses. More likely it is the culture behind the murders and living within those cities that affect the murder rate. Murder is likely an epidemic in those cultures, but outside of those cultures it likely would not and should not be considered an epidemic.

Source for murder statistics can be found at:
https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/violent-crime/violent-crime-topic-page/violentcrimemain_final

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