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Kennedy Airport murder (courtesy

The FBI regularly produces the most accurate crime statistics for the United States. It usually takes them six to nine months to compile the figures and publish their report after the end of the year. We have just seen the report for 2015 and it looks like the murder and violent crime rate has increased for the first time in years.

Since the early 1990s the violent crime and murder rate has been dropping precipitously, reducing by nearly 50 percent in only a couple decades. Over the last two decades the murder and violent crime rate has continued to plummet despite the marked increase in firearms and ammunition sales, a situation which seems to directly contradict the notion that the best way to reduce crime is to “get guns out of people’s hands.”

This reversal in the trend might be seen by some (like me) as an anomalous bump in an otherwise undeniable trend pending further information. But the usual sources are already chomping at the bit to pin the increase in murders on the “vile gun culture” in the United States. From the New York Times’ reporting:

Fueling the surge in murders was street violence in a handful of major cities, notably Baltimore, St. Louis, Washington, D. C., and Milwaulkee, where most of the victims were young Anrican-American males. The F.B.I. reported that guns were used in nearly three-quarters of the nation’s 15,696 murders during 2015.

The fact that the majority of this increase in murders comes from large urban centers with relatively strict gun control regimes is particularly interesting. Chicago is the obvious major standout in the numbers, a city with the most restrictive gun control laws in the United States yet somehow those laws aren’t stopping the situation. Also on the list are Washington, D.C. as well as Baltimore, Maryland — two more places with incredibly restrictive gun control laws.

I don’t think that anyone looks at these numbers and rejoices. Everyone thinks that murder is terrible (except murderers, probably). The differences between us is our approach to dealing with violent crime.

Gun control activists want to take the “herd immunity” idea to its logical extreme, eliminating firearms for everyone so no one will ever get hurt. Gun rights folks point out that the idea doesn’t work in practice — that we need to focus on enabling victims to defend themselves and actually putting effort into crime reduction policies that will actually have an impact.

Until we solve that debate we won’t be able to solve the Chicago’s murder problem, or stop the upward trend in firearms-related homicides.

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    • Yeah, but the real headline should read “Democrat controlled cities cause first rise in murder rate in three decades.”

    • Perfect analysis. 13 year old raised by 15year old mother(or crackaddicted grandma)is an animal…or rapes women at 12. I avoid Chicago as much as possible-and I’ve been in every ‘hood. It’s changed. And it’s hopeless. Perilous times indeed…

    • It’s not moronic Andrew. In Pittsburgh we are experiencing the same dynamic. Unstructured small gang turf wars. Youth with little conflict resolution skills.

      • It is moronic, because it’s trying to explain the majority of Chicago’s gun murders by a lack of cartel/organized gangs.

        When Chicago DID have large organized gangs, there were MANY more murders.

        So even though this is an upward trend, this is still much, much better under the paradigm of organized gangs.

        Counterintuitive? Sure. But you can’t explain Chicago’s violence as disorganized gangs creating the problem, because it was worth without them. That may be the excuse now, but the causal factors clearly are something else

      • “Youth with little conflict resolution skills.”

        How fortunate, then, that our all-knowing government has seen to it that they have no access to handguns. Otherwise, there might be some murders.

  1. Funny, I always use the “herd immunity” as an example for LESS gun control. Once a significant number of people are carrying, crime can’t help go down due to a large number of criminals exhibiting 0% recidivism, if you get my drift.

    And it’s amazing to watch the talking heads, who in the day before’s broadcast talked about the “epidemic of violence” are now saying that crime is at the lowest it’s been for years… without so much as a eye twitch.


    • I’m afraid many do not understand the mind of the statists. To wit: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald. Thus, crime statistics are up because guns. Crime statistics are down; guns are not needed for self-defense and safety.

      All very logicial.

      • Orwell had this pegged pretty well, as he did many things. You can list them all day, but here’s another of my favorite pieces of current doublethink:

        You can’t criticize Islam because that will provoke terror attacks. Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.

        • “You can’t criticize Islam because that will provoke terror attacks. Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.”

          Yepper ! You nailed that one.

    • The truth about “herd mentality” (and fish school mentality) is this: If you hang out in a large enough group, even though you have little or no individual defensive capability, your personal odds of being the one eaten by the predator go down as the size of the group goes up.

  2. Gun control activists want to take the “herd immunity” idea to its logical extreme

    It’s not herd immunity, it’s trickle-down disarmament.

    Herd immunity refers to a tactic used against a contagious agent, interrupting the transmission chain. But guns don’t multiply. If I have a gun, my sending my child to kindergarten does not result in six kindergarteners having guns.

  3. The media fans the flames of racial and economic division, helping to spur riots and lawlessness, and then get to blame it on everyone but themselves or the responsible violent actors.


    • Agreed. Get rid of the damned pop-ups.

      Bad enough the click-bait ads take over my phone and crash the browser on my phone and PC.

      Control your site. It’s getting to the point that I’m not willing to put up with all the crap to be here.

      The brownells ads are the straw. Lose em or I’m gone.

      • I’ve been using AdBlock on this site since well before the redesign, when we were told that they were going to fix things.

        I hadn’t yet disabled the block to see if things had, indeed, gotten better, but apparently they haven’t.

        AdBlock for the win!

      • New adds crash my devices less and at least SOME of them are almost related to topics loosely related to the target audience here. The new popup from the bottom is supremely annoying. This is the only site I frequent that has this level of crappy ad problems.

      • I just installed adblock plus, because screw your ad revenue, TTAG.

        Like he said – get control of your site. I work in the firearms industry and I can’t even surf this site at work because of all the massive dick pics, cleavage/booty shots, and pictures of random pussing wounds that blow up all over the screen.

        Disgusting and inexcusable.

  4. Nick,

    Doesn’t all crime go up during economic lows? The last 8 years have not exactly been a boom.
    Additionally, wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect lower socio-economic areas an already troubled towns such as the ones listed to see the initial or greater spikes in violence?

    • “Doesn’t all crime go up during economic lows? The last 8 years have not exactly been a boom.”

      Here in Florida, my bike rides are at night in the summer because of the brutal heat-humidity thing.

      Since I ride at 0-dark 30, about once or twice a year I get a ‘Terry stop’.

      Around 2012 or so, while waiting for the cops run my name through their computer, I asked the cop stopping me if the cops noticed an uptick in crime since the 2008 crash.

      He contemplated a moment and replied to the effect of, no, he hadn’t noticed the crime rate increasing since the crash. I told him that rather surprised me, since I assumed when unemployment was high that crime would track that.

      Anyways, there’s an anecdotal datapoint from central Florida.

      As personal theory, I believe the murder rate has dropped as crime solving technology has drastically improved.

      The thugs may believe they have better chance of getting caught, especially with the number video cams out in public skyrocketing and cellphone location data is available for the cops to query.

      Just my .02 and worth less than half that amount…

  5. I always see this statement about Chicago having the strictest gun laws in the nation. But a person issued an FCCL (CCW) can legally carry a pistol anywhere not restricted, admittedly few in number, within the city limits. Illinois is shall issue and has preemption, and though Cook County has some carve outs, and though no guns signs have the effect of law (you get caught it’s breaking the law, not just kicking you out), you can still walk down the street with a standard capacity mag filling any pistol your heart desires. The same cannot be said for New York City, D.C., or any major city in California. I’m not saying Chicago or Illinois are perfect in regards to gun rights, but it’s WAY BETTER than just 5 years ago.

    • Agreed.

      Chicago is a gang-infested shithole, just like the other violent cities mentioned. But in terms of gun rights, it’s not in the same category.

      My caveat is this: The fact that public transportation is a “prohibited area” makes concealed carry legally impossible for the vast majority of working Chicagoans, who can’t get anywhere without the trains and buses.

  6. Violent crime is up because criminals are in charge. Criminals run the city governments and own the streets and the southern border. And all those criminals are empowered by the head criminal in charge who is currently squatting over the White House.

  7. “Fueling the surge in murders was street violence in a handful of major cities, notably Baltimore, St. Louis, Washington, D. C., and Milwaulkee, where most of the victims were young Anrican-American males.”

    Ferguson Effect folks, nothing to be concerned about.

    • Yes, but as various ‘liberal’ organizations and politicians note, it’s mostly in a few places that this crime is occurring… so don’t worry about it!

      Unless you happen to be in a black neighborhood in Chicago, Baltimore, DC, etc. Then maybe you should worry. But not enough to vote for anyone but democrats who, apparently, don’t think your life matters.

      • The Ferguson effect creates gang safe havens from which gangbangers can move into previously low crime areas. The Ferguson effect extends outside the ghetto because the police are no more willing to risk their careers or lives confronting a Michael Brown in non ghetto areas. The objective of the Democrats has always been to extend gang control over a larger area.

  8. “Herd Immunity”, if that is the right metaphor for what gun-grabbers are trying to do, only works if a critical mass of the herd is immunized – ie. armed, in the case.

  9. It’s at least in part due to the “Ferguson effect.”

    cops are less likely to police in the neighborhoods where most murders occur, ’cause of the accusation of “racism”, and the potential for even legitimate shootings to result in a full-fledge ferguson-style race riot.

    the biggest victims of “black lives matter” are the black lives that don’t matter – the ones killed by black criminals.

  10. I submitted this comment but it seems not to be showing up… trying again, not sure what filter I could be hitting.

    11% rise in homicides is a big increase. It could be a return to the mean, but I doubt it. Guns don’t explain the rise. Gang violence could- but not with the across-the-board rise we see in cities in almost every category. Gee, what could have happened recently that would allow violent crime to rise?

    Hint: depolicing. Policing suppresses crime. Take away the police- or convince them to sit in their cars- and that suppression effect goes away. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, per se- if we like liberty we should want the police to do as little as possible- but it’s funny how liberal organizations will bend over backwards to pretend like there’s no such thing as the Ferguson effect instead of having an honest conversation about priorities.

    Good blog about the issue is ‘cop in the hood’. Google it- I think maybe putting the link in is why my comment wasn’t showing up before. Small excerpt: “Among academics, it’s quite uncool to blame criminals for crime or give police credit for crime prevention… Too many who say they’re for “justice” never really have to think about the injustice of one real murder victims (one not shot by police). But then maybe I care because I was a Baltimore cop. Every single cop can tell you a story about a dead person. Why? Because they care…

    Think of all those deaths. Last year there were 133 more murders in Baltimore than there were in 2014. [This year the numbers are down slightly compared to 2015, and the chutzpah of some people to herald Baltimore’s “crime drop” is shocking.] Take a moment and picture all those dead bodies, almost all shot young black men and teenagers. Visually stack them up like cordwood if you wish, or lay them all head-to-toe. It’s real human carnage. If you took all the Baltimore murder victims from just last year and laid them head-to-toe where the Ravens play football, that line of dead bloody bodies could score six endzone-to-endzone touchdowns. And the increase in violence last year happened all after April 27th. All it took was one man’s in-custody death coupled with anti-police protests, bad leadership, a riot, and a politician’s horrible choice to press criminal charges against six police officers in the matter of Freddie Gray’s death. (All charges ended up being dropped after multiple trials without a single conviction on any charge.)…”

  11. I suspect that a part of what is driving inner-city crime is the decrease in what young people especially are allowed to do for fun due to ever-increasing government regulation of everything in sight. Strangle legitimate outlets for burning off energy, letting off steam, and competing, and you push people into illegitimate outlets, an effect fed by anger and frustration at being restricted.


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