Overall violent crime is down across the U.S., according to the latest FBI stats. This is remarkable because most people think crime increases during a recession. Even if generally true it doesn’t seem to be true right now. Also, and this may surprise you, in spite of the sensational crimes that characterized the 1930s, the overall crime rate declined during the Great Depression.
A list of the ten most violent cities in American is set forth in this story at Yahoo News. I’d bet dollars to donut holes that if you make up your own list based on your expectations, you’ll be off the mark. Some of the cities on the list are not what you’d expect. The list is compiled using the FBI’s preliminary uniform crime report for 2010. While crimes rates are usually expressed as the number of crimes per 100,000 of population, this story relies on the number of violent crimes per 1,000 of population. The violent crime rates range from a high of 22 per 1,000 (Flint, Michigan) to the lowest on the list of 13.8 per 1,000 (Stockton, California). These are all astoundingly high numbers given that the national violent crime rate for 2009 was 429 per 100,000, or 4.29 per 1,000. It was a bit lower for 2010, but getting the exact number from the FBI’s preliminary report involves more calculations that a sane person has time for. Just know it is a little bit lower for 2010.
Using the customary number per 100,000 instead of per 1,000 population expresses the violent crime rates of the ten worst cities to range from a high of 2,200 to a low of 1,380. The national average violent crime rate for the entire nation in 2009 was 429 per 100,000, or 4.29 per 1,000. This shows how violent these cities are compared to the country as a whole.
The referenced report does not show the murder rate in the ten most violent cities but does show the population and the total number of murders. From these numbers one can calculate the murder rate using the following formula:
Murder rate per 100,000 = (total murders x 100,000) ÷ population
Thus the murder rate in 2010 for New Haven, Connecticut is 22 multiplied by 100,000, then divided by 124,856 = 17.62 per 100,000 population. The national average murder rate is 4.96 per 100,000 population in 2009, slightly less in 2010. In 1991 the murder rate in America was 9.8 per 100,000. There’s more than one reason for the recent declines in the overall crime rate but a huge factor is the aging of the population. The 15-29 age group is where the criminals are and the percentage number in that group has declined.
The whole story at Yahoo News is worth your time except for one part of it. The writers repeat the worn out mantra that poverty causes crime. The evidence for that is thin. It also flies in the face of decreasing crime during the current economic downturn and the overall decrease in crime during the Great Depression as America was thrown into poverty on an unprecedented level. With intelligence guided by experience we know the truth is just the opposite. Poverty does not cause crime, but crime surely does cause poverty.
Oh, one more thing. I can say for sure that 8 of the 10 cities on the list are run by liberal Democrats. [The only ones in which I can’t say for sure are Little Rock, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee.]
Maybe all these cities being run by Democrats is just a coincidence. On the other hand, I don’t believe in coincidences.