I saw this report yesterday and I’ve been waiting for some journalist or politician to point to these preliminary numbers and scream out “See, see! More guns equals more crime.” I have not seen anything yet, so maybe there is some hope. I’ll still bet $10 that someone will read the first paragraph of the report and head right for a microphone somewhere.
The new preliminary Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics for 2012 indicate that when compared to data for 2011, the number of violent crimes reported by law enforcement agencies around the country increased 1.2 percent during 2012, while the number of property crimes decreased 0.8 percent.
The preliminary report – the final for 2012 should be released in September – does not break out type of weapon used if any, so we’ll have to wait and see about that. I’m not one of the people who claim an increase in firearm sales or carry permits and a reduction of violent crime is a direct cause/effect relationship. I’ve said in the past multiple times there are simply way too many variables involved to make that direct claim. That said, we still have gun-control advocates telling us “it’s obvious” more guns equals more crime. That’s a load of hooey and it’s not obvious at all. I guess their argument would be something like “yeah, sure … crime is down, but imagine how much lower it would be if people stopped buying all those guns!” Ridiculous.
Here are some highlights of the preliminary report specific to New England and the Northeast.
- Overall, when compared to 2011 figures, the West experienced the largest increase in reported violent crime (up 3.3 percent), and the Northeast experienced the only decrease (down 0.6 percent).
- The Northeast was the only part of the country where the four violent crime categories saw decreases across the board—murder (down 4.4 percent), forcible rapes (down 0.2 percent), robberies (down 1.4 percent), and aggravated assaults (down 0.1 percent).
Below is a portion of the FBIs page Caution Against Ranking from 2011. I think this is very important for everyone to read. In short, for those of you who like to compare the crime statistics from two different states – as an example Texas and Illinois – or different counties, different cities or even different countries, you really must consider variables. Texas for example pretty much has the same gun laws across the state, so how come two similar-sized cities in the state, San Antonio and Dallas, have homicide rates of 6.57 and 10.87 per 100k respectively? The cities have the same gun laws. It’s all about the variables. In reality – for the criminal – United States gun laws are really all the same for the simple fact we can travel from state to state, city to city, without border checks. Read on…
It is incumbent upon all data users to become as well educated as possible about how to understand and quantify the nature and extent of crime in the United States and in any of the more than 18,000 jurisdictions represented by law enforcement contributors to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the various unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction.
Historically, the causes and origins of crime have been the subjects of investigation by many disciplines. Some factors that are known to affect the volume and type of crime occurring from place to place are:
- Population density and degree of urbanization.
- Variations in composition of the population, particularly youth concentration.
- Stability of the population with respect to residents’ mobility, commuting patterns, and transient factors.
- Modes of transportation and highway system.
- Economic conditions, including median income, poverty level, and job availability.
- Cultural factors and educational, recreational, and religious characteristics.
- Family conditions with respect to divorce and family cohesiveness.
- Effective strength of law enforcement agencies.
- Administrative and investigative emphases of law enforcement.
- Policies of other components of the criminal justice system (i.e., prosecutorial, judicial, correctional, and probational).
- Citizens’ attitudes toward crime.
- Crime reporting practices of the citizenry.
Crime in the United States provides a nationwide view of crime based on statistics contributed by local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies. Population size and student enrollment are the only correlates of crime presented in this publication. Although many of the listed factors equally affect the crime of a particular area, the UCR Program makes no attempt to relate them to the data presented. The data user is, therefore, cautioned against comparing statistical data of individual reporting units from cities, counties, metropolitan areas, states, or colleges or universities solely on the basis of their population coverage or student enrollment. Until data users examine all the variables that affect crime in a town, city, county, state, region, or other jurisdiction, they can make no meaningful comparisons.