As the nation reels from another school-place murder spree, this time at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, The Detroit News took notice of a not wholly unrelated milestone: St. Louis, Missouri, took “title” to “nation’s murder capital” from Detroit, Michigan.
Detroit’s Chief of Police waves, as he put it, a “flag of progress,” not a “flag of success.” Crimes overall are down . . . as are (interestingly) police forces. Still, as the FBI stats for 2013 make clear, “Motor City’s overall violent crime rate remains the nation’s worst for the second straight year for cities of more than 100,000 residents.”
St. Louis scored 50 murders per every 100,000 population; Detroit went down to 44 per 100,000.
But hold your breath: all this is based on a per capita reckoning: Detroit still tallied more murders than did St. Louis, 298 to 59. Detroit just has more population.
In total terms, Chicago actually leads the nation, with 411 murders. (These include all murders, not just gun-related homicides.) New York follows with 333. Then it’s Detroit, followed by Los Angeles (260), Philadelphia (248), Houston (242), and Baltimore (211).
The 2013 murder count for the nation?14,249. Subtract the seven highest grossing murder cities and the number is 12,246.
That’s still a lot, but remember: nationwide, the murder rate (including murders with guns) continues to plummet — even with more guns in private hands. Could it be that more than “more cops” and “more jails,” more guns is the answer?
Dramatic Gun-Free-Zone shootings are trend exceptions. Most usages of guns remain in self-defense. Real gun control has been, in a sense, privatized.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.