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


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

bottom for


These 4

cities also have the toughest



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.


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.