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.
|District of Columbia||Washington||646449||103||15.9331981332||0.0159331981|
|Nevada||Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department||1500455||97||6.4647057059||0.0064647057|
|New York||New York||8396126||335||3.9899353583||0.0039899354|
|South Carolina||North Charleston||103324||13||12.5817815803||0.0125817816|
|South Dakota||Souix Falls||161754||3||1.8546681999||0.0018546682|
|Utah||Salt Lake City||190246||7||3.6794466112||0.0036794466|
|West Virginia||Oak Hill||7709||2||25.9437021663||0.0259437022|
|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: