Obvious Study Finds That Populous Areas Have More Crimes, Obviously

Is the Crime Prevention Research Center study, run by a pro-gun academic-misleading? 

The somewhat dubious Crime Prevention Research Center reported that 68 percent of the country’s murders take place in just 5 percent of the nation’s counties, a finding that is, in fact, really freaking obvious if you remember that cities contain way more people than the country, like, by definition.

The Crime Prevention Research Center—run by a pro-gun academic, John Lott, whose research has been widely discredited by academics—also found that areas with the highest gun-ownership rates had low murder rates, which, again, makes sense, because most people live in cities, which often have strong gun control laws. 

But do the laws themselves affect crime? “The National Research Council, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, assembled a panel to look into the impact of concealed-carry laws; 15 of 16 panel members concluded that the existing research, including Lott's, provided ‘no credible evidence’ that right-to-carry laws had any effect on violent crime,” Mother Jones reported. “Economists Ian Ayres of Yale University and John Donohue of Stanford University argued that Lott had drawn inaccurate correlations: Cities had experienced a spike in crime in the 80's and 90's in part because of the crack epidemic, not because of strict gun laws. When they extended their survey by five years, they found that more guns were linked to more crime, with right-to-carry states showing an eight percent increase in aggravated assault.”

And as for those five percent of counties with all the murders?

“The worst 1% of counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders,” the Crime Prevention Research Center study finds. “The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders.”

So yes, the 6 percent of counties where TWO THIRDS OF THE UNITED STATES POPULATION LIVES have the most murders. Who would have thought that you needed people to make crimes happen?

Now, it’s true that some areas have outsized crime stats relative to their population. Wealthier areas of cities are less likely to have violent crime than poor areas, for instance, as Lott’s research touts (again, the correct answer to this research is “duh”).

But breaking down these findings by counties seems a really misleading way to show this, considering that some counties are way more populous than others. 

[Image: Crime Prevention Research Center]

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