Monday, September 30, 2013

Debunking the "Four Cities" Murder Myth


Urban decay in Detroit from Imgur 

There is an urban myth floating around the Internet under some variation of the title:   The United States is ranked 3rd in Murders throughout the World. But, if you remove just 4 cities from the statistics :


The United States is 3rd in

murders throughout the

world.

But if you take out Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC and New Orleans, the United States is 4th from the

bottom for

murders.

These 4

cities also have the toughest

gun

control

laws in the United States.

This tell you anything?

PS: These cities are also run by DEMOCRATS! Imagine that.
The assertions in the above sound plausible, but they are false.  The United States is not "3rd in murders throughout the world."   This list, though incomplete, shows that their are dozens of countries with intentional homicide rates much higher than the United States, including Russia, Jamaica, South Africa, Brazil,  Ukraine, Latvia, Georgia, and many others.

The crime rate has been dropping in the United States, so the numbers should be even lower now, but looking at the numbers for 2011 shows these numbers of murders in the four cities mentioned:

Chicago murders, 2011 - 431  (The numbers moved up in 2012 to 532)

Detroit murders 2011 - 344

Washington D.C. murders, 2011 - 108

 New Orleans murders 2011 - 200

While Chicago murders are up about a hundred in 2012, it does not make a large difference in the analysis.   The four cities listed have a total of 1,083 murders in 2011.   Total murders for 2011 in the United States were 14,612.  The 1,083 is only 7.4% of the total.  This is not enough of a change to move the position of the  United States international standing on the rate of murder very much, let alone from the mythical "third from the top" to the equally mythical "4th from the bottom".

As with many myths, there is a kernel of truth in the underlying idea.  If you remove the subcultures from the United States that do not originate in Europe, and have no significant numbers in Europe (African American and American Hispanics) the murder rate for the United States falls into the middle of European murder rates.

  ©2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

16 comments:

Wireless.Phil said...

There was an AP article in the paper over the weekend (F-Sun), that stated that gun violence in the US is not as bad as the media likes to play-up.

If our local paper posted the AP article on-line, I would have linked you to it.

Anonymous said...

One problem that I right away noticed is that your stats you are using are not relevant to what the argument was, which was about gun control. The stats you were using were total murder and manslaughter rates, which could also involve other weapons like knives, cars, etc. While the argument was strictly about murder by guns in these 4 cities. Completely different argument.

Anonymous said...

In reply to Anonymous, you'll have to take that up with the original meme, which only specifies "murders" and never mentions guns aside from gun control.

Anonymous said...

As with many myths, there is a kernel of truth in the underlying idea. If you remove the subcultures from the United States that do not originate in Europe, and have no significant numbers in Europe (African American and American Hispanics) the murder rate for the United States falls into the middle of European murder rates.

Be careful with statements like this. It "sounds" like a potentially racist statement and I wouldn't want you to be spammed with angry comments.

Anonymous said...

Bizarre assertions. New Orleans and Detroit have lax gun control.

But hey, I've got an idea. Why not just pretend they're tight?

Ron of Ks said...

Regarding Anonymous's comment, "One problem that I right away noticed is that your stats you are using are not relevant to what the argument was, which was about gun control. The stats you were using were total murder and manslaughter rates, which could also involve other weapons like knives, cars, etc. While the argument was strictly about murder by guns in these 4 cities. Completely different argument."

The weapons-specific ambiguity you're pointing out is ironically the very reason your point is not valid. The meme itself tries to distort reality by using that exact ambiguity, itself exclusively using "murder" statistics, not "murders by guns" statistics, yet claiming a connection between gun control laws and higher overall murder rates in those cities. It's a typical use of massaging the actual facts by mixing a broader stat with a much more specific point of focus.

Anonymous said...

"Bizarre assertions. New Orleans and Detroit have lax gun control.

But hey, I've got an idea. Why not just pretend they're tight?"

Michigan has very strict gun control. Did you read somewhere where a liberal posted that they don't and you just go ahead and believe it without checking it out? lol

By contrast, Louisiana has relatively lax gun control. One thing IS for certain, remove Detroit and New Orleans from the stats for each state and they fall below the national average.
Wonder why that is? It couldn't possibly have anything to do with ghetto culture right? It's just a coincidence that the music they listen to is all about violence against women and authority, I'm sure. smfh

Anonymous said...

Regarding "overall murder" stats vs "murder by gun" stats relative to areas with lax gun control laws: The murder stats matter... because it is not about murder by gun... as much as it is that law abiding citizens may be less likely to be legally armed there due to more strict gun laws. Therefore anyone bent on murder would have lesser odds of being stopped by the average citizen, no matter what murder technique they end up going for. This is if you believe the notion that good guys with guns are a deterrent to bad guys with any weapon. Areas that are known to have less good people who are armed would likely stand out as easier places for a criminal to target.

Anonymous said...

The FBI listed about 8,000 firearm homicides in the US in 2011. This means that these cities account for 1/8 of all homicides.

john gerogianis said...

Even if it was 7% that's just 4 cities not counting LA and NY. By population size alone, they can add 5% to the murder (not gun) statistics. Now add cities with borders on Mexico and easily you're looking at 15%-25% totals. I would imagine a choice 10 cities could make up 25% of all homicides.

What I would like to see a statistic about, is between these city's and their victim/criminal death ratio. If in the stricter cities, there are more civilian deaths, than the lax ones. It would prove that gun laws are not in the best interest of the people.

Unknown said...

There are three kinds of lies. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. You can talk about the number of murders or the murder rate one is a raw number. The other is a ratio, ie; number of murders per 10,000 people. People can use a variety of methods to skew statistics to fit their side of a discussion. Keep this in mind when you see things like this.

Wunsford digglespit said...

my first thought reading this bullcrap. the author is trying to justify his bad reasoning because he says, the 'original meme' wasnt specific enough. how pathetic this person needs to base his legitimacy of arguments on memes he sees on facebook. i noticed the author also didnt put the numbers per-capita. without the major cities, the US would be MUCH lower on the list if it is done ADJUSTED FOR POPULATION DIFFERENCES

Anonymous said...

You need to review this list. http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Murders-with-firearms.

Anonymous said...

"Be careful with statements like this. It 'sounds' like a potentially racist statement and I wouldn't want you to be spammed with angry comments."

Are facts "racist"?

The facts as reported by the number-crunching nerds at the Bureau of Justice Statistics inside the US Department of Justice show that African-Americans are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.

Blacks make up 13% of the population but commit half of the homicides.

70% of America's homicides take place in just three percent of America's counties.

Hispanics commit violent crimes at roughly three times the white rate, and Asians commit violent crimes at about one quarter the white rate. The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic.

At its root, political correctness is a war on noticing things. It is a totalitarian political ideology whose purpose is to declare certain topics and questions taboo. It must do this because cultural Marxism is built on lies, and cannot survive critical scrutiny.

Pro Libertate said...

I'm Swiss and even I can tell you right away that this article starts with a massive fallacy: the US are not the 4th most violent country on the planet.

In fact, the US are one of the safest!

Start by doing your facts checking.

Start by listening to Bill Whittle, who actually has the facts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pELwCqz2JfE

Anonymous said...

The original intent of this meme was to undermine the fact that the U.S.A. has a very high rate of gun deaths. California has much tighter gun control than Alaska and has a much lower gun death rate as a result. Really simple to grasp. Law abiding citizens have literally NO problem buying guns in California as recent record gun sales there reflect.

Pro Libertate: it's really never a good idea to start by listening to any one person on YouTube. You might find Bill Whittle reflects your attitudes, but getting facts from a dude with explosions behind him and flame throwing rhetoric is never a good idea. Ever.