Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The numbers

This is a follow up to the post last month on the effect of urbanization on crime rates and why it is not an even comparison between the US and Canada.All of the data following comes from the FBI Uniform Crime in the United States report for 2011.

There were a total of 14,022 deaths declared to be "murder or nonnegligent manslaughter." To make things simple for me to type, and to make this post more readable, I will refer to this category of death as "homicides" for the rest of this post.

In the United States, there are just shy of 88 million people who live in cities with a population of 100,000 or more people. (Population groups I and II) This represents 28.15% of the total population of the country.

If we combine groups I and II, we see that there were 7,424 homicides in this population group. This resulted in a homicide rate of 8.46 per 100,000. For the remaining 224 million people in the country, the homicide rate is 2.94 per 100,000. In other words, 28 percent of the country is responsible for 53 percent of the homicides.

I downloaded the data to a spreadsheet, and did a little more arithmetic.

Cities that have a population of 1 million or more, with a total population of 25.2 million, were the site of 2,223 homicides. That means that the 8 percent of Americans who live in cities of over one million are responsible for 15.8 percent of the murders.

So let's reduce that to the Canada versus US discussion. For the purposes of this, we will exclude the Americans who live in cities of over 500,000. There are approximately 269 million people in the US that are not living in cities of over 500,000 people. In those areas, there were 10,043 homicides, leaving a rate of 3.73 per 100,000.

Canada reports a homicide rate of 1.6 per 100,000. However, Canada only includes first and second degree murder, manslaughter, and infanticide in their statistics as "homicides," furthermore, Canada requires that a person must be CHARGED with the crime in order for the death to be reported as a homicide. The United States, on the other hand, includes all intentional killings of one human by another (except deaths caused by negligence, suicide, or accident; and justifiable homicides), and no arrest must be made. This means that unsolved murders do not count towards Canada's statistics. For this reason, a direct comparison between the statistics of the two nations is not valid.

Even so, the disparity between the murder rates of the two nations is much narrower than the anti gunners would have us believe.

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