One of our readers was perusing the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports web page—as our readers are wont to do—and found this little gem:
Make valid assessments of crime
It is incumbent upon all data users to become as well educated as possible about how to understand and quantify the nature and extent of crime in the United States and in any of the more than 18,000 jurisdictions represented by law enforcement contributors to the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Valid assessments are possible only with careful study and analysis of the various unique conditions affecting each local law enforcement jurisdiction. Historically, the causes and origins of crime have been the subjects of investigation by many disciplines. Some factors that are known to affect the volume and type of crime occurring from place to place are . . .
• Population density and degree of urbanization.
• Variations in composition of the population, particularly youth concentration.
• Stability of the population with respect to residents’ mobility, commuting patterns, and transient factors.
• Modes of transportation and highway system.
• Economic conditions, including median income, poverty level, and job availability.
• Cultural factors and educational, recreational, and religious characteristics.
• Family conditions with respect to divorce and family cohesiveness.
• Effective strength of law enforcement agencies.
• Administrative and investigative emphases of law enforcement.
• Policies of other components of the criminal justice system (i.e., prosecutorial, judicial, correctional, and probational).
• Citizens’ attitudes toward crime.
• Crime reporting practices of the citizenry.
Now, sure, they said “some factors” that influence crime rates, but one would think that if gun laws had any appreciable effect on crime rates the good old FBI would have certainly made it a point to list that. However, they mostly listed what I call “people” factors, reinforcing the idea that crime is a people problem, not a gun problem, or even a gun law problem.