City, City Bang, Bang

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By Chuck Michel | Published March 6, 2014

San Antonio, Texas is a sizable city with about 1.4 million inhabitants. As is common in bigger metro areas, San Antonio has a bigger crime problem. Their homicide rate is about 30% higher than average for America.

Chicago’s homicide rate is 300% higher Granted, Chicago is larger than San Antonio, but not ten times larger. So other factors must explain the propensity of Barack Obama’s fellow Chicagoans killing each other.

Maybe they live in a state of enhanced irritation because the Windy City’s wind constantly blows off theirhats. Maybe the ghost of Al Capone wanders the streets, inspiring criminal action through paranormal

influence. Or maybe it’s that decades of conniving, cynical, insincere and corrupt politicians (forgive the four fold redundancy) have fostered complete disregard for one’s fellow Chicagoan.

More likely though, it is the mistake called gun control. Chicago is almost unique in their anti-American support for banning firearms which, as evidenced by the city’s violent crime numbers, does nothing to disarm Chicago’s criminals. So the violence problems of big cities manifest themselves more grandly in Chicago where there has been no option for armed resistance. Oh, and the city fields a local police force with a long history of corruptly ineffectual habits.

But back to the core observation – big city violence numbers skew national numbers for violence in general, and for gun violence in particular. But the question is “how much and why?”
Sadly the FBI’s uniform crime statistics to not segregate firearm homicides and the Center for Disease Control’s morbidity databases do not break data down to the city level. But to get some indication of how cities skew homicide stats numbers, what we can do is:

  1. Treat large cities within a state as separate entities.
  2. Know statically that the majority of inner-city homicides are gang and gun related.
  3. Look at state numbers, divorced from their major cities.

FBI Uniform Crime Statistics report only a handful of cities with populations of a million or more people (we confine this study to cities and not metropolitan areas to keep our analysis consistent). Texas has three such towns, California has two, and the other states have just one. As the chart shows, there can be a staggering divergence between the murder rates for mega cities and the rest of the state. Despite all the states hovering around five homicides per 100,000 people, their large cities drive the statewide murder rates much higher than would otherwise be. If we divorce states from their big cities (bye -bye Los Angeles) the statewide homicide rate plunges in most states. Illinois would be better off without Chicago. Pennsylvania should kick Philly over into New Jersey (“Sorry Governor Christie, it’s your problem now”).

Nevada is the exceptional outlier in the top three states, largely due to a very young and very transient population, plus a steady flow of booze and gambling that causes unpredictable behaviors. It is also a way stop for immigrants of dubious documentation, along with the criminal coyotes who import them. Ignoring this Vegas inspired oddball, the other two top states with murderous municipalities have only one offensive city each, namely Chicago in Illinois, and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

We know Chicago’s stance on gun control – they were one of the few cities that outlawed handguns and have embraced onerous gun ownership restrictions. Like Chicago, Philly has had a string of rabidly anti-gun mayors, and as recently as last year prohibited state concealed carry licensees from packing in public parks.

But these policies have not done much about MS-13, The Black Mafia, Shower Posse, K&A, Green Street Counts and their other major street gangs, or the two outsized and combative motorcycle gangs which Philly hosts.

But this begs two more questions: The first asks if cities with a one million plus populations are the right ones to monitor? The FBI’s next level of categorization is for cities with 500,000 or more people and yields 35 candidates nationwide, which is a manageable number for our analysis. From that cull, we see that the states with big cities have an average homicide rate of 4.6 murders per 100,000 people, but would have a nearly 30% lower rate (3.4) if they built large walls around those big towns. You might have noticed one isolated column in the chart. That is our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., the other town that banned handguns. Though small compared to San Diego, San Antonio or Phoenix, D.C. has a homicide rate rivaling Somalia. They outstrip even the increasingly corrupt towns of Chicago and Philadelphia.

But not Baltimore or Detroit.

Baltimore is an embarrassment to gun control happy Maryland. Baltimore is so violent that in one year the city did not report its homicide rate, which at the time was higher than Detroit’s is today. That says a lot, because modern Detroit is a failure, and not just in the bankruptcy definition. That city has spiraled intosocial collapse after years of political imbecility and corruption (one of their recent mayors was convicted on 24 federal felony counts, including mail fraud, wire fraud, and racketeering … not to mention state charges).

The second question is what does this all mean for America and gun control. What’s the bottom line? In the year of this analysis (2010, used for cross referencing with Center for Disease Control info on firearm homicides) America had a murder rate of 4.8 over for every 100,000 people, but would have only suffered a 3.9 rate if large cities cleansed themselves of their inner city demons.

And this is where gun control comes into play. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and their Homicide Trends in the United States report, gang related activities top the homicides charts, and that 92%of gang homicides involved a gun. Since gang members are notorious for disobeying laws in general and gun control laws in particular, big cities with big gun control but little gang control become killing fields. Notevery megalopolis devolves because some city fathers take criminal control seriously. This excludes L.A., Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit and other sites of political indifference.

Surrounding the murder Mecca called Washington D.C. are the neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia.

Maryland has enacted a stunning array of gun control laws from handgun registration to “assault weapon” bans to limiting magazine capacity. Virginia hasn’t and their citizens even repealed a one gun per month estriction. Maryland’s firearm homicide rate is 36% higher than Virginia’s.

This reality tends to escape many, including some odd political ducks. Despite Virginia’s comparative state of safety against Maryland, Virginia’s new Governor Terry McAuliffe has openly called for more gun control. Any Virginian who doesn’t want to live and die as they do in Baltimore … or Detroit … should take this into consideration and take cover.

This brief analysis is an imperfect model but close enough for us to see that metropolises raises national homicide averages. City bosses should get off their collective duffs and go after criminals in a meaningfulway. We know this works. New York City has a relatively low violence rate which began, according to the knee in the crime data trend charts, when Mayor Rudy Giuliani added policemen and cleaned-up Time Square. Thus, external factors are known to reduce crime, even in the big cities. But gun control isn’t one of them.

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