Crime Rates

It’s interesting to browse this page.

Based on a very casual and unsystematic perusal of the data, and even allowing for variabilities in reporting, I note some striking differences between cities. For example, in 2003:

-There were no murders in Fargo, ND;

-The murder rate in Gary, IN was almost 9 times the national average;

-NYC looks very good, though it’s not broken down into sub-regions — I suspect that there are big differences in crime rates between different parts of NYC;

-The murder rate in Buffalo, NY is almost 3 times the national average;

-Many cities with high murder rates, like Gary, do not have exceptionally high rates of other violent crimes or property crimes;

-In general, the South, and big cities with big ex-southern populations, have much higher rates of violent crime than do cities in the Midwest;

-I think they are cooking the books in some of these places, e.g., Gary, IN — I’ll bet that the murder rate is generally the most accurate statistic, since it’s probably the most difficult statistic to misreport;

-In general it appears that demography predicts crime rates, except that good or bad local government (e.g., NYC vs. Chicago) make a big difference.

There is nothing new in any of this but it’s nice to refresh one’s memory.

(Thanks to commenter Tex for the link to

9 thoughts on “Crime Rates”

  1. Yes, most US gunshot deaths are suicides.

    I was not trying to make a point by listing these statistical snippets, but if I were it would be that local statistics are not very informative without a good understanding of local demographics, history, culture and politics.

  2. There’s a saying up North: “There’s nothing like a hard winter to keep the peace.” Once one subtracts suicides from the CDC stats, the patterns become much clearer.

  3. Note that New Orleans is just behind Gary Indiana in murder rate, (7.54 times versus 8.75 for Gary.) Any way to look at crime rate (particularly murder or other violent crimes,) vs response to natural disasters?

    What’s painfully obvious, however, is that whoever set up those reports hasn’t bothered to differentiate between numbers that are zero and numbers that are unreported. No way could NYNY, Gary Indiana and New Orleans have zero arsons for a year. (Well maybe New Orleans if it’s under water.)

    Good statistics deals with missing/incomplete data. This is BAD statistics.

  4. Frank,

    Agreed that there are lots of problems with these numbers. At best they suggest additional questions.

  5. Hard to top Camden NJ on murder rates. From a
    Reuters story last year (2003 rates):

    Camden’s murder rate was 51.2 per 100,000 of population compared with a national average of 5.7 and zero in Newton [MA], the survey found. Camden’s robbery rate was 1,068.2 per 100,000 compared to a U.S. average of 142.2 and just 27.4 in Newton.

  6. Gary is the mother fucking hood it got projects inside of projects by that i mean it has it own ghetto imagine the ghetto inside the projects like the hood inside of the slums thats Gary the whole city is the fucking ghetto Indiana sucks to make it alive pass 21 is a fucking miracle

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