FBI Crime Statistics – two myths exploded

The FBI has just released a new report on Crime Statistics for 2009 and there’s good news. Crime in every category is down overall – in some categories, substantially. At the same time, according to this post, gun ownership is at an all time high.

The common assumption held by many is that crime is motivated by economic desperation. As we are in a recession and the real unemployment rate is well over 15% once you factor in the under-employed and those who have simply stopped looking, falling crime rates come as a real shock.

And they have been significant declines.

  • Each of the violent crime categories decreased from 2008—murder (7.3 percent), robbery (8.0 percent), aggravated assault (4.2 percent), and forcible rape (2.6 percent).
  • During 2009, 43.9 percent of all property crimes in the U.S. were recorded in the South, with 22.7 percent in the West, 20.8 percent in the Midwest, and 12.6 percent in the Northeast.
  • Each of the property crime categories also dropped from 2008—motor vehicle theft (17.1 percent), larceny-theft (4.0 percent), and burglary (1.3 percent).
  • Among the 1,318,398 violent crimes were 15,241 murders; 88,097 forcible rapes; 408,217 robberies; and 806,843 aggravated assaults.
  • Among the 9,320,971 property crimes were an estimated 2,199,125 burglaries; 6,327,230 larceny-thefts; 794,616 thefts of motor vehicles; and 58,871 arsons.
  • During 2009, the South accounted for 42.5 percent of all violent crime in the nation, followed by the West (22.9 percent), the Midwest (19.6 percent), and the Northeast (15.0 percent).

This all occurred in the same year that Americans purchased 14 million firearms—more than the combined active armies of the top 21 countries in the world. We also purchased an estimated 14+ billion rounds of ammunition during that same time period. It is also worth remembering that these purchases were made during a year where gun rights were ascendant, and Americans could carry weapons in more areas as firearm owener’s rights continued to go mainstream.

It is fair to compare these two seemingly unrelated facts? You’re damn right it is.

These data explode the fallacy told by the media, anti-gun organizations, and a shrinking number of politicians that “more guns equals more crime.”

Two myths exploded:

  1. Poverty and economic downturns lead to more crime.
  2. More guns = more crime.

Hopefully this will lead to different approaches in dealing with the real root causes of crime.


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