BBC on Falling American Crime Stats: What’s a Gun?

US crime figures: Why the drop? the BBC asks. Excellent question! And the answer is . . . black teens are trying harder to participate in society (legally) now that they have a black president. While Washington correspondent Tom Geoghegan’s number one reason for America’s declining crime rate is littered with caveats and attributed to “top” criminologist Alfred Blumstein, there it is. The Obama Effect. But wait! There’s more!

Number two on the Beeb’s/Blumstein’s hit parade: the “fall in demand for crack.” ‘Cause meth addicts don’t commit crime, I suppose. Then there’s smarter policing, number crunching, the availability of legal abortion, more prisoners, the decline in childhood exposure to leaded gasoline, an aging population, the rise of videogame and the proliferation of camera phones.

I know the Brits have banned self-defense firearms, but I assume Mr Geoghegan knows such things exist. After all, he’s based in Washington, D.C. where private citizens are free to carry . . . oh wait.

OK, well, I guess the U.K. government employee never heard of John Lott’s stat-laden tome More Guns, Less Crime. If he had, surely he would have added firearms to his list of crime reduction agents. And yes, I’m calling him Shirley. Shirley U. Jest.


  1. avatar Res Publica Americana says:

    A correspondent/journalist from a virulently totalitarian, crime-ridden, socialist European hole working for that country’s state media organization omits firearms, and basically the entire concept of individual sovereignty thereby, from his essay – what a shock!

    1. avatar Greg Saville says:

      A “totalitarian hole” coming from Res Publica who apparently lived through Bush’s Amerika? Better still, the idea that the UK is “crime ridden”when the US crime rates are 5 times higher.
      What arrogance. What ignorance.

  2. avatar ExurbanKevin says:

    Mr. Geoghegan’s analysis is a load of hooey.

    Everyone knows crime in the U.S. plummeted when the boy-king, the kwisatz haderach, Barack “Don’t call me ‘Hussein'” Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

  3. avatar Ralph says:

    You wanna fight crime? Stop watching the BBC, because that bullsh!t is totally criminal.

    1. avatar Res Publica Americana says:

      It’s become very popular to post news articles off the BBC for lots of American/European liberals specifically because they think it’s unbiased and truthful, staying away from “corporate and evil” American media – I, for one, haven’t seen such a huge bullshit-to-minute-of-programming ratio in my entire life.

  4. avatar Freeport56 says:

    As a side note, the violent crime rate in England is 2,000 per 100,000. That is what happens when you disarm society!

  5. avatar Todd Price says:

    It has been suggested somewhat credibly that legalized abortion is the principal contributor to the reduction of crime.

    While legalization of firearms undoubtably has a positive effect on crime statistics, I don’t buy that it contributes more than a single digit drop in crime as a percentage.

    1. avatar CliffG says:

      The suggestion that abortion reduced crime was part of Freakonomics. Alas, besides being racist, that theory has been fairly thoroughly eviscerated. A few minutes spent on a search engine should find the references. James Taranto, amongst others, has done some of the hard work in that area. The gun thing has been well documented.

      1. avatar poppymann says:

        Most of the work in freakonomics was sloppy. The sad par tis that people ate it up and hte wuthor is now rich and an “expert.” Expert Shmexpert.

      2. avatar Esemwy says:

        Here, in case you’re interested, is some information regarding Freedomnomics, John Lott’s (our favorite economist) rebuttal to Levitt and Dubner’s work in Freakonomics.

    2. avatar glenux says:

      I know a little about mathematics and statistics. When you compare two measurable variables and see a trend between them Statisticians would say that they have a Correlation, but an untrained or biased person would merely say that it is a Causation. But statistical data can never show Causation only Correlation. It takes other outside observation to prove Causation. Freakonomics spends the first few chapters explaining the problem, yet violates this very own rule of statistics over the crime/abortion issue. The authors tried to show that there was more than a Correlation between the rate of abortions and the crime rate. They tried to show that there was a Causation.
      John Lott, I think had a better explanation of the of reduction of crime has more to do with the relaxation of gun laws in his books, More Guns Less Crime and Freedomnomics.
      It’s kind of obvious to me that in places in America (Concealed/Open Carry States) where gun control laws were limited also observed a reduction in crime and places in that had increased gun laws (NY, MA, CA, Chicago) observes much higher crime rates.

      About the abortion/crime thing. Areas that have higher rates of abortion in poor black populations have not observed the same reductions in crime. This not bigoted thing. I first heard this from a group of Black preachers who were fighting abortion in their areas. They said that abortion is one of the greatest causes in the reduction of the black population. (If you study the history of the beginning of Planned Parenthood you would find out that Susan Sanger wrote in her own words was a racist and wanted a way to control the population of the “inferior” race. That’s why I am for the defunding and forced elimination of PP as racist, genocidal organization.)
      The Freakonomics authors failed to show what would happen if the abortions were reduced. Would that increase crime? Well in America, the overall abortion rate has fallen since the 80’s, but yet crime has NOT risen. Which I would say “proves” the point that the abortion rate has had little to do with crime rate.

  6. avatar xpo172 says:

    I’d just like to point out that I was a LEO in 1991. That downward trend was all me…yep.

    Your welcome.

  7. avatar Todd Price says:

    OK, thanks for the reminder of where my thought came from. Also, thanks for the pointers (re: Taranto), definitely will be looking that up.

    I do still think there is a positive correlation to gun ownership and the lack of murders, I just have a hard time believing (and admittedly this is my personal bias) that softening of gun control was the majority reason for the decline.

    But I am open to doing more reading and a bit more critical thinking, perhaps that opinion will be swayed.

  8. avatar Mira says:

    If the US gun ownership rate has gone up as the crime rate has gone down, then you might have a point. Otherwise, you’re just talking out your ass.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      I’m not entirely convinced that gun ownership is responsible for falling crime stats. Less than four percent of the population of the most gun-o-centric states carry concealed; for one thing. But it seems a lot more credible than rising cell camera rates. Worth mentioning methinks.

      As for falling gun ownership rates, I’m VERY skeptical there. Guns sales have been rising for the last three years. Last month, they were up over 10 percent over the year previous. I don’t think existing gun owners account for ALL of that rise.

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