Murders in US very concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have 51% of the murders

25 Apr , 2017  

You can examine the picture of the US counties in more detail by opening it in a new tab.

The Distribution of murders

The United States can really be divided up into three types of places. Places where there are no murders, places where there are a few murders, and places where murders are very common.

In 2014, the most recent year that a county level breakdown is available, 54% of counties (with 11% of the population) have no murders.  69% of counties have no more than one murder, and about 20% of the population. These counties account for only 4% of all murders in the country.

The worst 1% of counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders. As shown in figure 2, over half of murders occurred in only 2% of counties.

Murders actually used to be even more concentrated.  From 1977 to 2000, on average 73 percent of counties in any give year had zero murders. Possibly, this change is a result of the opioid epidemic’s spread to more rural areas. But that question is beyond the scope of this study.  Lott’s book “More Guns, Less Crime” showed how dramatically counties within states vary dramatically with respect to murder and other violent crime rates.

Breaking down the most dangerous counties in Figure 2 shows over half the murders occur in just 2% of the counties, 37% in just the worst 1% of the counties.

Figure 1 illustrates how few counties have a significant number of murders. Figure 3 further illustrates that with a cumulative perspective. 54% of counties have zero murders, 69% have at most one murder, 76% have at most two murders, and so on. To put it differently, only the top four percent of the counties have 16 or more murders.

In 2014, the murder rate was 4.4 per 100,000 people.  If the 1% of the counties with the worst number of murders somehow were to become a separate country, the murder rate in the rest of the US would have been only 3.4 in 2014. Removing the worst 2% or 5% would have reduced the US rate to just 3.06 or 2.56 per 100,000, respectively.

 

Even within the Counties with the murders, the murders are heavily Concentrated within those counties

When you look at individual counties with a high number of murders, you find large areas with few murders. Take Los Angeles County, with 526 murders in 2014, the most of any county in the US. The county has virtually no murders in the northwestern part of the county. There was only one murder each in Beverly Hills, Hawthorne, and Van Nuys. Clearly, different parts of the county face very different risks of murder.

The map below shows the distribution of murders in Indianapolis, with 135 murders. Although the city extends well beyond the 465 Highway that encircles downtown Indianapolis, there are only four murders outside of that loop. The northern half of the city within 465 also has relatively few murders.

Washington, DC has large areas without murders. 14th Street NW divides the eastern and western parts of the district, with murders overwhelmingly limited to the eastern half. The area around the capitol is also extremely safe.

Here is the murder map for Dallas.

Here are Chicago’s murders through the first 4.5 months of 2017 (there were 222 homicides by that point).  One small neighborhood, Austin, accounts over 25 murders.  But 23 of the 77 neighborhoods in the city have zero murders, and most of the 40 neighborhoods in orange have only one murder.  Twelve of the neighborhoods have 10 or more murders.

Gun Ownership

According to a 2013 PEW Research Center survey, the household gun ownership rate in rural areas was 2.11 times greater than in urban areas (“Why Own a Gun? Protection is Now Top Reason,” PEW Research Center, March 12, 2013).   Suburban households are 28.6% more likely to own guns than urban households. Despite lower gun ownership, urban areas experience much higher murder rates. One should not put much weight on this purely “cross-sectional” evidence over one point in time and many factors determine murder rates, but it is still interesting to note that so much of the country has both very high gun ownership rates and zero murders.

Conclusion

This study shows how murders in the United States are heavily concentrated in very small areas. Few appreciate how much of the US has no murders each year.  Murder isn’t a nationwide problem.  It’s a problem in a very small set of urban areas, and any solution must reduce those murders.

Data

The number of murders for each county Excel file_2014 For the column FIPS_CTY, 777 is for Tribal Agencies’ data and 999 is State Police data.  What the county and state codes number correspond to are provided here.

While we have been unable to locate a copy of his research, Robert Muggah (Igarapé Institute) says “that 99% of violence in the USA is concentrated in 5% of street addresses.


172 Responses

  1. […] Source: The number of murders by county: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 69% had at most 1 murd… […]

    • Zb says:

      If some of you read “The Working Poor” by David Shipler, maybe a more broad understanding of what causes these epidemic numbers could be had. I agree that it is not poverty alone that causes violence stemming from various causes, but culture. What chains of events have shaped the cultures in which violence is most prominent? This is far from the surface-level issue that so many make it out to be; It’s the easy solution to ignore history but come on now. We *should* be smarter than that by now. What I believe is one main core reason for violence being so concentrated in these areas, is that within these areas exists a culture of desperation that breeds and perpetuates extreme means for survivial due to a very real lack of the resources needed for basic survival (resources invisible to those within cultures spared of such desperation ingrained within their extrinsic culture). It is important to see more deeply that mere numbers and one’s own culture.

      • John says:

        You make an excellent point and stated it very clearly. Living in a rural area, I do not see there problems, I just see the results.
        It makes me think of if we had an EMP, and all services were gone, many many people would act the same way no matter of their culture.
        What to do? I have no idea. Throwing money does not help at all. It seems like that lifestyle is deeply imbedded in certain cultures.

        • Ronelle says:

          Is there data available describing the shooter and the victim background? For example, are the shooter and the victim more likely to both belong to gangs? Is the victim killed as he/she was committing a crime? And what about the weapon, how often is it legally obtained?

          • johnrlott says:

            Yes, there is some data, but it is limited. Most acquaintance murders are gang related, but they don’t actually note that they are gang related.

      • Dusty says:

        Rural poverty can be just as desperate. With the increase of drug addiction in rural areas, desperation has increased, as has robbery and the drug trade – and murder rates.

      • Some truth to this. On the other hand, the role of culture, subculture, and in particular, the sexual revolution, violent music, the weakening of religious faith and the denigration of the Protestant work ethic – which has hit our culture at large – has been most devastating on poorer people and minorities. Cultural marxism has permeated much of the ghetto and is the biggest barrier to progress.

        • Paul Love says:

          Ignatius Kendrick, no. Just… No. It’s because America’s run out of the money it made selling weapons and loans to everyone in WWII and is now in heavy debt to China because it’s spent trillions on war for the past 15 years instead of industry and social care. Protestant work ethic means shit if one trip to the hospital will bankrupt you.

        • Maria J. says:

          You are right Kendrick! The break-up of the Family and the Christian culture and disciplin the European immigrants brought to America, is to blame. If tomorrow EVERY family in America would return to the close-knit nuclear family run by Christian disciplin and workethics, the number of murders would drop to almost Zero!

      • Brian says:

        You are putting the cart before the horse. It is the culture that produces these things, not the other way around. Poverty is the default, the natural state of mankind. Until the late 19th and 20th centuries in the West, that’s all the world knew was poverty. Not just poverty, but utter penury.

        If you produce nothing of value, you will not be able to trade for anything else of value.

        The real question is “what causes wealth?”. The culture that values productive effort is also the culture that largely eschews violence. For wealth to be obtainable by any but monarchs and oligarchs, its only prerequisite is freedom. Neither education nor opportunity are primaries – those are byproducts, secondaries, that will follow naturally from liberty.

        Are blacks and Latinos less free than whites or Asians? In a word, no. However, freedom is most important for the poor. Without it, they have little chance of escaping poverty. What poor people of all races and ethnicities have against them is barriers to entering the market – minimum wages, occupational licensing, etc. Why does a black woman who wants to make a living doing corn row hair for other black women, a thing they’ve been doing for centuries, now need an occupational license (and annual CE credits) issued by the state to do it, and without which she’ll be shut down and maybe even go to jail?

        In short, her freedom of the pursuit of hair styling (her “pursuit of happiness”) is cut off to her because of the great expense of meeting the state’s requirements.

        • David K Dyer says:

          Well said and precisely on point!

        • Phil Grimm says:

          Brian, close to bullseye.

        • Susan P says:

          Bryan
          Absolutely, you hit the nail on the head.

        • JL says:

          Sir, you seem to be an educated man, and a man earning a good living. As such, I would venture, you and your family shop and obtain services at locations which are clean, well staffed and trained. Not every place is like that, even with the rules in place.
          I am by no means for more government. I fall as close to a Libertarian as I do a Republican. But I am not for more and more government regulation on every little thing.
          However, without rules there is chaos and anarchy. This much is proven fact.
          Ask your wife is she would mind going to a hairdresser, or have her nails done in a shop with no regard for the basic rules of cleanliness or health. You would allow your daughter to sit in the chair for a perm by a person who ran down the street, bought a kit, and advertised herself as qualified? How about the folks cooking and serving your food? Your dentist?
          Yes, there are those who cannot make a living following these rules, and some of the rules are a bit out of whack. But many are in place to make sure public safety is not compromised daily to large numbers of consumers.
          On a side note to this, these same folks, operating under the government’s radar, most likely will be paying no fees, no taxes, etc.
          These licenses are not only to try and bring a minimum level of competence and cleanliness as well as be able and track the movement of money, and to be sure the makers of money are paying the share they should be (fair share or not).
          Many of the countries of origin for these minority races have absolutely no such rules, license or policies in place. They are certainly not thriving, thus, their citizens flee to paces like the US or the UK.
          You seem to be stating these minorities are less able to follow the rules because of their race, creed or living conditions. Thus they are disadvantaged when it comes to creating money. I’m sorry but many, many have pulled themselves up and used the many, many available programs to better themselves. At the same time many, many do not have that drive. Why should they? If they work, they have to pay fully, for phone, food, rent and medical care.
          I am not trying to indicate this is a stereotype for any race. It transcends across color and religion.
          One conclusion is, it is the individual not the system. If a few bucks for a license and a few CEU’s each year or two to better themselves are out of their financial reach, then perhaps they should not be in charge of a business.
          Back to your basic premise, “If you produce nothing of value, you will not be able to trade for anything else of value.” I agree, and this includes labor. If you go to work, any legitimate work, you are producing. Sitting home and drawing a check when you are physically able is indeed non productive and will make that person no gains. Or it used to be that way, not anymore, with all the social services. Again, why should they go to work. Most of what they need is free for them if they want.
          Another note, these licenses and fees you speak of, many of them are available to the worker (employee) free through valid employment. Along with the employer paying and providing on the job training, they gain the knowledge and wages to save, study and obtain that license. There are also many programs available for very economical training for various trades. And again, if a minority or impoverished, there are numerous programs for assistance, both financial and educational.
          The woman wanting to charge her neighbors and friends for cornrowing their hair, has lost no “freedoms” whatsoever. She has the exact same freedoms as the rest of the citizens of this great country. Isn’t that what the minorities complain about? Isn’t this what they have asked for, equal right? There have been so many affirmative action policies in the last 50 years, but few have taken advantage. Again, I state, their basic needs of food, shelter and medical are free for the most part.
          Personally, it is these policies and liberal thoughts which keep the minorities in the poor. Liberal politicians want it that way. To change this would require conservative Republican or Libertarian polices, thus eliminating the Democratic party.

        • Robert says:

          Superb post, Brian. I would add another barrier to entry: crappy inner-city public education–good education lifts all boats–that ‘knocks down’ inner-city minorities from the get go. Why organizations like the NAACP continue to oppose some form of school choice for inner city minorities is beyond me.

      • Lisa M Tibbitts says:

        This is a common belief and yet it cannot account for the majority of those who share the same history and circumstances and do not murder people. Murders are rare and often the statistics regarding murder are committed by repeat offenders. Poverty has been used as an excuse to accuse impoverished persons of bad character for thousands of years. The first persons sent to the U.S to establish the land were impoverished boys and girls from the streets of London considered incorrigible. Poverty and oppression are problems but do not create murderous offenders. That said, consider the ancient, tried and true way to motivate humans to murder outside of the rare offender who biologically is wired to enjoy killing others. Group identification. And where most of the murders are concentrated. Isn’t areas with the most gang activity? Strong group identities create prejudices, black and white thinking, transference of anger that creates the phenomenon of the self fulfilled prophecy in thinking. And we don’t need races to have group identities. You have expressed your views here of your outgroup, the impoverished. You have maligned the character of all African Americans who are succeeding in caring for their families despite their circumstances by allowing for the idea most of them are capable of murder. I know you didn’t mean to but that is what a bias does. It justifies itself under many guises. Even advocacy.

      • Pyles says:

        ZB, “a very real lack of the resources needed for basic survival”. I think it’s just the opposite. Some of these areas receive the largest amounts of welfare such as housing, food, disability, and so on. If lack of resources were the culprit then there are lots of rural areas which should be war zones and they are not. What is the one thing that most of these areas have in common? If you look at the country map you’ll see that most of the high crime areas are run by progressive liberals who perpetuate the victim-hood mentality and are soft on crime. This country map looked very familiar to me for some reason even though this is the first time I’ve seen it. Then I remembered were I saw it, It’s virtually the same as the 2016 US Presidential election map, with the high crime areas being Democrat and the low crime areas being Republican. Here is a link to it:
        http://brilliantmaps.com/2016-county-election-map/

    • John O'Rourke says:

      Why all the numbers? When you get down into the comments, everyone seems to agree that it’s black people who commit all the crimes and drive up the murder rate. Someone wrote a book in the 1920s outlining a perfect “solution” for such a scenario. Is that what you guys are getting at?

      • johnrlott says:

        No, definitely not, you should read our discussion. Not all crime is committed by blacks, not even close. The point we continually emphasize is that we have a drug gang problem. That is the most important factor.

  2. John Sneed says:

    Nice work. It would be interesting to compare current murder rates by county with right to carry laws. Another interesting comparison would be murder rates to governance, i.e. Democratic or Republican. From reading Professor Lott’s books we all know the general correlation, however an up to date comparison would be interesting.

    • Eric says:

      If you have the time read John Lott Jr.’s book “More guns less crime.” He breaks it down to states with right to carry and other factors.

    • Robert C Hall says:

      I think CPRC is mostly showing absolute numbers of murders. I agree with you that *rates* of murders compared to estimated CCW rates would be interesting. The laws concerning CCW might have to act as a proxy.

    • johnrlott says:

      Dear John: Thanks, the 3rd edition of MGLC updates the data from 1977 through 2005. Other more recent papers are available here. https://crimeresearch.org/2014/11/do-right-to-carry-laws-reduce-violent-crime/

      Dear Robert Hall: We do have extensive discussions on murder rates in the posting. But it is also interesting for people to see how geographically concentrated murders are.

      • John Besharian says:

        Dr. Lott, yes it is interesting. It is also extremely important to have access to continually updated statistics and empirical data as the anti-gun lobby and their media arm (the MSM) are constantly twisting the truth and ignoring the facts in order to further their agenda(s). As a (Poor, but Proud) Life Member of the NRA, I salute you and all that you and your associates have done and are doing. I just hope you are all ready, willing and able to keep up the good works, helping us to fight 9and win) the good fight.

    • Ken says:

      You can easily see why there are a lot of murders in these areas simply by comparing these maps with the ones above. Hint: it’s got everything to do with a taboo topic the PC police aggressively ignore. A ctrl-f reveals that the author and the commenters are continuing to aggressive ignoring.

      • FALPhil says:

        Even the commenters (other than you) are studiously ignoring it. This would be laughable were it not so tragically idiotic.

      • Tim Good says:

        Absolutely correct, Ken — and the direct correlation with the “taboo topic” is both overwhelming and undeniable. Nevertheless, it will be amusing to see how the liberal/progressive media & academia spin this “revelation” of clearly concentrated mayhem… The practical question now for all Americans is, should one’s safety (specifically, the active avoidance of actual/likely crime-plagued areas based on certain “indicators”) ultimately be sacrificed upon the alter of political correctness?

        • Jvilla says:

          It’s not a taboo subject! It’s high populations of people in poverty and all the societal issues that go with that… Poor school system, terrie peers and role models, because you grow up not seeing anyone that is successful…. Not much hope in those situations. Many one parent households, over worked parent, not home to be a parent or if home, extremely stressed and so much more.

          • Bob says:

            Many one parent households are the root cause of the other issues. It’s not that the school systems are bad, the parenting is bad leading to high rates of absenteeism and stunningly low rates of graduation.

          • Tommy says:

            Some of the most impoverished people in the country have some of the lowest crime rates. An example would be Chinese immigrants in San Francisco. Poverty does not necessarily lead to crime or violence.

          • Javelin says:

            Except that your argument blaming poverty falls apart when one considers the great swaths of Appalacia from WV through Kentucky and Tennessee have almost no murders. Likewise, the impoverished Midwest which has hundreds of small towns joining the impoverished as industry and manufacturing have died–but they have not turned to murder.
            There is a “taboo” commonality, we all know it.

            PS: I have researched the 54% of counties with ZERO murders (1674 of them) and ALL 1674 voted against Hillary in the 2016 POTUS election–wow, big surprise hunh?

          • Susan P says:

            You are on to something. But, it isn’t just poverty. Consider that the federal government implemented a welfare plan to:
            1) pay mothers to stay home and raise their children
            2) the more children a woman had, the larger her monthly check
            3) in order to collect this money, the father of the children had to be absent from the home

            This is exactly the plan that was implemented and called “Great Society” by the president who started it.

            This led directly to the breakdown of the family unit in the PC group you do not mention. Along with the breakdown in the family unit, came a turning away from religion and the forming of gangs to fill the void left by the breakdown in the family and the gangs turned to drug dealing to make more money.

            We are now on our 3rd, 4th and maybe even 5th generation in some families living this lifestyle. The unrest and entitlement attitude is all they know at this point.

            Prior to the “Great Society” that same group were comprised mostly of 2 parent families with a working father and they were in church every Sunday. The kids were not on the streets, joining gangs and pushing drugs.

      • Aggie95 says:

        Its pretty simple …take red / blue map of 2016 election and compare to above map.

      • Reziac says:

        A parallel observation: affected areas are basically the intersection of welfare (which is somewhat skewed by demographics, and including some Indian reservations) and Democrat control.

    • Mark says:

      Yep… Good point… There is another…

      Let’s see… The most recent data is from 2014… Might be interesting to overlay Congressional district election results from the same year by political party on top of the matching murder events… Dr. Lott publishes his report by county, but it is pretty clear from the maps shown above that the level of detail could get down to district boundaries…

      Anybody care to hazard a guess just exactly what that overlay might reveal?

  3. BostonTea says:

    Recently I’ve come across this report from WHO: “Global Strategies to Reduce Violence by 50% in 30 Years: Findings from the Global Violence Reduction Conference 2014”

    It says, quote: “Robert Muggah reported that 99% of violence in the USA is concentrated in 5% of street addresses.”

    Does it sound plausible?

    • Matthew Carberry says:

      If you look at some of the tracking out of Chicago, and other large cities, yes. They can point to particular sides of streets and corners on given blocks as being hot spots. The detail goes that granular.

      If you haven’t read his work, Papachristos has done excellent work on networks of violence which matches up with similar research by police -and- emergency room visit research. King County (Seattle) has a study of gunshot victims that tracked past and future victimization and commission rates of violent crime.

      There really are “the usual suspects”.

      • BostonTea says:

        So you say it is really plausible to assume that 99% of violence in the US keeps occuring in 5% of streets? I wish I knew how to contact with Robert Muggah to confirm this info. He doesn’t answer my emails.

        I found something else – Thomas Abt (Vox, “The sad truth: we know how to stop gun violence. But we don’t do it”)

        “Crime and violence are sticky; they’re hyperconcentrated in a small number of places, people, and behaviors. When I say hyperconcentrated, I don’t mean that crime and violence concentrate in a bad or violent neighborhood. They concentrate on a specific street corner, a specific nightclub on a certain night, or a specific liquor store. So when we look at a dangerous neighborhood, generally what we’re seeing is not a whole neighborhood but two or three hot spots. That’s very important to understand. The same is true when we look at people. So 1 percent of the young men are responsible for 70 to 80 percent of shootings and homicides.”

        • Stabo says:

          But 1% of young men is still a huge number. Depending on what you call ‘young men’ you might be talking somewhere between 500k and a million people.

          • John Besharian says:

            Gee, the same statistically minuscule number could also be used to compare the number of violent Jihadi’s to the number of Muslims in the world. (Lemme see here, 1% of 1.5 Billion is … ? Democrats, “Progressives” and the MSM are noticeably silent. Hmm.)

  4. BostonTea says:

    “The United States can really be divided up into three types of places. Places where there are no murders, places where there are a few murders, and places where murders are very common.”

    Kleck points out the same thing (see: “Comments on Aneja Et Al.”)

    States are extremely heterogeneous units. Most are mixtures of primarily low crime areas and a few very high crime areas, suburbs, rural areas and urban areas, high gun-ownership areas and low gun-ownership areas. Generally speaking, gun ownership rates are lowest in the urban areas where crime rates are highest. The larger the units analyzed, the greater the heterogeneity, and the greater the potential for aggregation bias.

    Let’s say someone believes that more guns = more crime. Suppose, however, that in states that have more guns the increases in gun-carrying occurred largely in suburban, small town, and rural areas, while the increases in crime rates occurred in big cities. Surely this would cast doubt on the notion that more guns and the increases in gun-carrying were responsible for the crime increases. State level analysis (or even county-level) makes it impossible to detect these details.

    Unfortunately, the FBI’s national crime data only provides gun murder statistics down to the city level, which masks the clustering of violence within neighborhoods and streets.

    Take a look at Ilinois as an example. If you look at Chicago’s homicide rate, it is 18.5/100k population (2016). When you look at the rest of IL that is NOT Chicago, that rate is 1.5/100k population.

    When gun control advocates suggest it’s because of the weak gun laws in Indiana, what they’re not telling you is that Chicago is not the only portion of IL that shares a border with IN. IL shares borders with many so-called lax gun law neighbors. But it’s only Chicago that has the high rate of firearm murders.

    This is true for most cities and states. Louisiana is also considered a high homicide state, but most of those homicides are heavily concentrated in the St. Roch neighborhood, Elysian Fields Avenue between Brother Martin High School and I-610 and along Old Gentilly Rd, all in New Orleans.

    In Wisconsin, most of the state’s homicide is driven by three neighborhoods in Milwaukee – Metcalf Park, Park West and Concordia.

    Pick a state and it’s almost guaranteed that homicides will be driven by geographically small neighborhoods in one or two cities. In neighborhoods that are majority white, the risk of being shot is negligible.

    This completely demolishes the gun-control advocates’ arguments. Which is why they concentrate on macro instead of micro.

    • Robert C Hall says:

      Great points. The same is true in two otherwise very different states with which I am familiar: California and Montana. Nobody wants to address the underlying cultural drivers of these behaviors: Fatherless homes, welfare dependency, and criticism of individuals for not being “authentic” as in “acting white” who dress up, show up, and smarten up.

    • Tim Kern says:

      Also true that Indiana’s border with Illinois is hundreds of miles long, and the only place that seems to be a problem is the Chicago area, where Chicago’s crime spills over into Indiana, as opposed to Chicago’s crime being a result of its proximity to Indiana.

    • Meriwether Lewis says:

      I would love to see a map that shows all counties that have murder rates lower than the EU, and murder rates higher than the EU. So much of the US would be much safer than the EU that is constantly preaching to us.

  5. Steve Phayre says:

    Just looking at the data file, it seems to be incomplete (unless I’m missing something). I don’t find any data for Kitsap or King counties in WA. And for WA, the counties included in the report appear to be missing any county starting with letters M through Z.

  6. Bruce Clark says:

    When I get involved with those people who just won’t look at the actual data, such as Dr. Lott’s research on crime rates and concealed carry laws, here’s what I say: “Imaging that you are facing a criminal or a terrorist seeking to do you great harm, whether it be one on one or a mass shooting situation. Would you be saying to yourself — Gee, I’m sure glad I don’t have a gun!” So far, I’ve never found a person who would admit to wanting to say that.

  7. jeff says:

    Here’s a graphical exercise that won’t require any math but its “numbers” reveal much in this debate.
    Overlay the map from this link: https://demographics.virginia.edu/DotMap/ with the map above.
    I will not interpret nor share my own observations. I expect that people on this site will have the skills and concentration to make their own observations and come to their own conclusions.
    Just so, numbers don’t lie and facts trump feelings.

  8. The highest concentration of Prog Ed, the inner cities of Los Angeles County, are where the murders happen. Prog Ed teaches the tyrant’s rule-of-life “There are no morals, oh plebes I step on! Ha ha!” This “there are no morals” is for Prog Socialists to be in charge of everybody, for no reason. So they force the brain-rape of “morals are relative” so that SoCal stays Prog, damn the consequences.

    Oh, the consequences are that murderers believe “morals are relative” too! But as long as Progs stay in charge, they like the lie “morals are relative.”

    The answer is to defund Prog Ed in L.A. County schools, especially at USC’s Journalism Propaganda mill, and all grad schools. No republic can be kept if its publicly funded ed system is Prog… and teaches the tyrant’s creed: “Morals are relative, so you plebes pay up more for us tyrants to step on your necks!” Meh. Just defund Prog Ed… and everything gets better.

    Yes, even California can be ameliorated, as soon as SF and LA take the lead and defund all Prog Ed.

  9. Steve Sailer says:

    I live in northwestern Los Angeles, the huge San Fernando Valley that had only one murder in 2014. My impression is that the SFV has a striking percentage of liberal Democratic voters who are also gun owners. People in the entertainment industry tend to love guns (in private). The archetype would be Steven Spielberg (who lives over the hill in Pacific Palisades), who rewards himself for each movie he completes by commissioning another enormously expensive silver-plated shotgun from an Italian gunsmith.

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  12. […] The study points out 54 percent of counties (with 11 percent of the population) have no murders.  Sixty-nine percent of counties have no more than one murder, and about 20 percent of the population. These counties account for only four percent of all murders in the country. […]

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  14. Phelps says:

    “The United States can really be divided up into three types of places. Places where there are no black people, places where there are a few black people, and places where black people are very common.”

    FIFY. Of course, I know why everyone runs as far away as they can from the obvious correlation.

  15. […] the Crime Preventiion Research Center: Murders in United States are very concentrated: 54% of U.S. counties in 2014 had no murders at […]

  16. Silence Dogood says:

    Here’s a study that needs to be undertaken: “Are you more likely to be murdered in areas controlled by Democrats or in areas that have a majority of voters registered as Democrat?” Just by looking at the various maps in this article, it’s clear to me that the Democrats are the “Party of Murder”

    This assessment comports with a 2014 study published in “The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,” where it was found that “Felons who are allowed to vote overwhelmingly favor Democrats — 6 to 1 in the states studies.” And, in “New Mexico, 51.9 percent registered Democrat, 10.2 Republican. In New York, 61.5 registered Democrat, 9 percent Republican. In North Carolina, 54.6 percent registered Democrat, 10.2 percent Republican.”

  17. Chris says:

    It would be interesting to see smoothing on this map for population.

  18. […] The study by the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that 54 percent of the U.S. counties in 2014, the most recent year with complete figures, had zero murders. […]

  19. […] The study by the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that 54 percent of the U.S. counties in 2014, the most recent year with complete figures, had zero murders. […]

  20. […] The study by the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that 54 percent of the U.S. counties in 2014, the most recent year with complete figures, had zero murders. […]

  21. […] The study by the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that 54 percent of the U.S. counties in 2014, the most recent year with complete figures, had zero murders. […]

  22. […] The study by the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that 54 percent of the U.S. counties in 2014, the most recent year with complete figures, had zero murders. […]

  23. alanstorm says:

    I’m sure the fact that the map closely resembles the “Clinton Archipelago” is just a coincidence.

  24. […] ran across a shocking map yesterday, a map of murders in the United States in 2014. Fifty-four percent of U.S. counties had no murders in 2014—none, […]

  25. sdharms says:

    It would have been helpful to have a crossreference by name of each county. State and county numbers are not helpful.

  26. […] are no murders; places where there are a few murders and places where murders are very common. The study points out 54 percent of counties (with 11 percent of the population) have no murders. Sixty-nine […]

  27. […] week, a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) revealed just how concentrated murders are in the U.S. Citing county level data from 2014, […]

  28. […] (or perhaps not) murders in the United States are highly concentrated in a few locations; mostly urban.  […]

  29. […] Murders in US Very Concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have … […]

  30. […] a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) revealed just how concentrated murders are in the U.S. Citing county level data from 2014, […]

  31. […] a new report from the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) revealed just how concentrated murders are in the U.S. Citing county level data from 2014, […]

  32. […] John R. Lott, Jr. | Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  33. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  34. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  35. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  36. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  37. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  38. […] John R. Lott, Jr. | Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  39. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  40. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  41. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  42. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  43. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  44. You would expect there to be more murders in cities because there are more people in less area. If a city had, for example, 1/5 the % of gun ownership but 10x the number of people, that means there are still 2x as many guns in the city. Since cities have higher population density, the number of guns per square mile would be even greater. That seems like a more relevant metric.

    • johnrlott says:

      1) At the beginning of the piece we note: “In 2014, the most recent year that a county level breakdown is available, 54% of counties (with 11% of the population) have no murders. 69% of counties have no more than one murder, and about 20% of the population. These counties account for only 4% of all murders in the country. The worst 1% of counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders. As shown in figure 2, over half of murders occurred in only 2% of counties.”
      2) “One should not put much weight on this purely “cross-sectional” evidence over one point in time and many factors determine murder rates, but it is still interesting to note that so much of the country has both very high gun ownership rates and zero murders.”

  45. Righteous Mind says:

    correlation does not equal causation. To say gun ownership reduces fatal crimes is too simplistic. Lets look at the economic demographics for areas with high fatal crimes. Lets look at the rate of high school drop outs in these areas and distribution of age of shooter and dare I say racial profile or immigration status or years in the country of the shooter. To say gun ownership prevents is to say not owning a gun promotes and thats just not the case on its own. There are other more important driving forces.

    • johnrlott says:

      Who is claiming causation? What we did note that it is “interesting” that the places with the highest gun ownership rates have zero murders. We wrote: “One should not put much weight on this purely “cross-sectional” evidence over one point in time and many factors determine murder rates, but it is still interesting to note that so much of the country has both very high gun ownership rates and zero murders.” What is wrong with that statement?

  46. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  47. […] Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center […]

  48. […] 51% Of Murders In The U.S. Come From Just 2% Of The Counties […]

  49. […] The elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. John Lott is always worth a read…..Murders in US very concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have 51… Reply With […]

  50. […] Untersuchung des Crime Prevention Research Centers (CPRC) zeigt, dass mehr als die Hälfte aller Morde in […]

  51. […] CPRC shows that two percent of U.S. counties–led by Los Angeles County–account for 51% of […]

  52. […] CPRC shows that two percent of U.S. counties–led by Los Angeles County–account for 51% of […]

  53. […] This is an interesting stat. I'm putting it here because the murder data is almost always based on shootings. MURDERS IN US VERY CONCENTRATED: 54% OF US COUNTIES IN 2014 HAD ZERO MURDERS, 2% OF COUNTIES HAVE 51% OF THE MURDERS When you look at individual counties with a high number of murders, you find large areas with few murders. Take Los Angeles County, with 526 murders in 2014, the most of any county in the US. The county has virtually no murders in the northwestern part of the county. There was only one murder each in Beverly Hills, Hawthorne, and Van Nuys. Clearly, different parts of the county face very different risks of murder. Washington, DC has large areas without murders. 14th Street NW divides the eastern and western parts of the district, with murders overwhelmingly limited to the eastern half. The area around the capitol is also extremely safe. Murders in US very concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have 51… […]

  54. […] is the head of the Crime Prevention Resource Center, and its recent research is interesting indeed. It will not surprise those that keep up with research on firearms ownership and use, but will place […]

  55. […] CPRC shows that two percent of U.S. counties–led by Los Angeles County–account for 51% of all […]

  56. Zorro says:

    Check your math. The percentages add up to more than 100. It makes one wonder what else is invalid with this article.

    • johnrlott says:

      Sorry, but that isn’t true. In Figure 1, 0% + 1% + 3% + 5% + 10% + 12% + 68% = 99%. The reason it doesn’t add up to precisely to 100% is because of rounding. I don’t understand why you say the numbers add up to over 100%.

  57. […] CPRC shows that two percent of U.S. counties–led by Los Angeles County–account for 51% of all […]

  58. […] “US murders concentrated in 5 percent of counties.” This story was based entirely on a report (pdf version) put out by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC), a hard right source which […]

  59. JD Valscherm says:

    Figure 1 is a ridiculously dishonest twisting of the data. And I’m saying that even knowing that the data underneath is valid. It’s also pretty clear that the text in the article–the way its written–is also accurate and reasonably honest. The charts however–very dishonest.

    For starters, while the “Last 5%” of counties have 68% of the murders, they also contain 51% of the US population. And while–true–even the per capita rate is the highest, it’s not nearly as dramatically higher than the chart is attempting to imply. In fact, the implication is actually *reversed* when you look at the “Next 25%” of counties which have 38% of the US population, but only 27% of the murders, which means those counties are actually LESS murderous than expected, when the chart implies that they are MORE so.

    If you want to use data to assert that X% of counties are the “Most Dangerous”, the only honest way to do that is with *per capita* data, period full stop. And if you insist on using geographic areas to be the units you’re analyzing against, then census tracts are the most reasonable scale, since they are much more closely aligned with population per area than counties are. In fact, using counties as geographic units of population is mathematically the worst choice (unless your intent is to mislead in that very direction–that is, counties are a very popular mapping unit of the GOP, since it’s really good at giving a lot of visual impact to large sparsely populated areas.)

    Here’s the good news: If you’d used per-capita data, you STILL would’ve ended up with the most populous 5% of counties with the highest rate. Bad news though is that, you would have lost the “clickbait” power of saying that half the US murders are found in only 2% of the counties. And of course you do need the clickbait spin, because you have a business to run–I do get that. But let’s not pretend that very good data is being impartially handled here.

    • johnrlott says:

      The discussion does provide a direct comparison for what you speculate in your last paragraph: “If the 1% of the counties with the worst number of murders somehow were to become a separate country, the murder rate in the rest of the US would have been only 3.4 in 2014. Removing the worst 2% or 5% would have reduced the US rate to just 3.06 or 2.56 per 100,000, respectively.” Thus clear what you speculate on is already clearly pointed to in the posting. That said, the data is presented two different ways and there is a justification for doing that. Noting per capita rates is useful, though showing people how geographically concentrated murders are is also of interest. In addition, showing that murders are not as geographically concentrated as they were 20 some years ago can only be shown by looking at data the way that we do it.

      • JD Valscherm says:

        Missed the point it seems. Sure, as I said from the start, the article’s *discussion*, for those who read all the way through it, and have enough experience with US geographic and demographic data to provide their own context, is pretty fair and nicely hits the data from different angles. Some of those being un-usefully theoretical, but hey, you’re the author responsible for your own editorial choices. Totally fair–that far.

        But, for those readers who don’t, and are predisposed to use their own biases to fill in the gaps you quite purposefully and cleverly left for them–well–when the title is misleading and “Figure 1” is downright dishonest, you don’t escape your ethical responsibility to impartially inform your readers, by ensuring that you suddenly decide to be impartial a few paragraphs down, for those who get that far.

        If this was your purposeful intent, then good on you. Low-information right-wing “news” sites are all over it, forwarding the hell out of it, happy to share your warped chart design to support their otherwise half-baked opinions, saying “See? This respectably-sounding organization with an esteemed set of directors looked at some actual data (warped the hell out of it) and it completely supports every racist, classist, backwards ideas I have.

        You’re not making America great.
        You are the problem.

        • Javelin says:

          Except that the data is true. The numbers accurate and there is clear citation of murders per 100,000. Try as you did, the best you could do was devolve into typical leftist name-calling and ” I’m smarter than you” demeaning attempts at commentary. ( “low information”…”right-wing”…”warped”…”half-baked”…and of course what would a leftist be without, “racist”…”classist”, “backwards”….yada, yada)
          If keeping myself and my family safely away from these kill zones, then you can call me racist all day, JD Valsperm

          • JD Valscherm says:

            There is no “except”. Of course the data is true. I’ve said so in this thread at least twice so far. But your reply is simply proving the point I’m making, and that is apparently flying over your head. It’s selective partial truth, and then hidden in dishonest charts that tell a story different from the truth. If you don’t understand the difference between the whole truth, and some truth with selective truths ignored, then you can’t be helped.

            I never called anyone a racist. I don’t know you or anyone else in this thread to say that. But when an article cherry picks some truths, ignores others, and leaves clever gaps so that those who are tearing America apart get their toxic beliefs stroked, well, enemies of this country should be called out as such.

            I have no more time to debate this with you or any other extremists trying to destroy this country. God Bless America–all of it. Enemies of America like yourself should get wise, or get the f out.

          • JD Valscherm says:

            Quick question if you’re up for it. Let’s say the data showed that 33% of all US murders took place in 2% of the counties. Would you refer to those 2% of counties “kill zones”? Simple question. You can answer it, or remain in your bubble of purposeful ignorance.

    • Wysiwyg Mtwzzyzx says:

      As it turns out, counties work pretty well, as in 2015 the average population of counties in the united states was right around 100,000. That means that the lower 50% have murder rates ridiculously low (100:100k.

      This article might not make that contrast starkly enough, ironic in light of your comment.

      • Wysiwyg Mtwzzyzx says:

        As it turns out, counties work pretty well, as in 2015 the average population of counties in the united states was right around 100,000. That means that the lower 50% have murder rates ridiculously low (100:100k.

        This article might not make that contrast starkly enough, ironic in light of your comment.

      • Wysiwyg Mtwzzyzx says:

        As it turns out, counties work pretty well, as in 2015 the average population of counties in the united states was right around 100,000. That means that the lower 50% have murder rates ridiculously low (less than 1:100k)
        As opposed to some neighborhoods in big cities, for instance Burnside and Fuller Park in Chicago, where the rate is greater than 100:100k.

        This article might not make that contrast starkly enough, ironic in light of your comment.

  60. […] Murders in US very concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have 51… […]

  61. […] (or perhaps not) murders in the United States are highly concentrated in a few locations; mostly urban.  […]

  62. […] (or perhaps not) murders in the United States are highly concentrated in a few locations; mostly urban.  […]

  63. […] If you’re a ‘graphs & tables’ kind of person, you can find all that backed up here. […]

  64. […] 2% of US counties have 51% of the murders, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center: […]

  65. dick hertz says:

    Wow, look at that! A direct correlation between areas with high Hispanic populations and gun homicides. What an absolute coincidence!

  66. […] 2014, the latest year for which sufficient data is available, half of all murders in the United States took place in just 63 U.S. counties — two percent of the 3,144 counties in […]

  67. Frederic Stevens says:

    The murder concentration would appear to map directly the racial concentration of blacks and Hispanics. Strange that the article doesn’t seem to notice this when it’s obvious to anyone with an open mind.

  68. Thomas Cullen says:

    Areas with high BLACK and HISPANIC concentrations, which is where you will find the highest rates of dysfunctional values, attitudes and behavior patterns.

    Notice I use the term “rate”, yet left wingers will assume and claim I am attributing this to the majority of the population in these areas.

    The irony is that most blacks know this is in black areas that they are most likely to “get murdered”. Not in some overwhelmingly white populated area.

  69. […] Murders in US very concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have 51… […]

  70. […] Lott’s study: MURDERS IN US VERY CONCENTRATED: 54% OF US COUNTIES IN 2014 HAD ZERO MURDERS, 2% OF COUNTIES HAVE 51… […]

  71. Dave says:

    As a criminal defense attorney in Baltimore, I have always maintained that if you gave me 5 miles of rope, I could “rope off” the areas where 90% of Baltimore’s homicides occur. This study doesn’t surprise me at all. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of America’s population lives in areas where violent crime is non-existent, except on the local news coming from the nearest urban area.

  72. […] Source: Murders in US very concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have 51… […]

  73. […] Murders in US very concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have 51… […]

  74. […] Crime Prevention Research Center tracks locations of various crimes, including murder. They track them by state and county. They use […]

  75. […] a nationwide problem; it’s a problem in a very small set of urban areas. In 2014, the worst 2 percent of counties accounted for 51 percent of the murders. And 5 percent of counties account for 68 percent of […]

  76. […] This is new study by John Lott. Murders in US very concentrated: 54% of US counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of counties have 51… […]

  77. […] that the study shows that 2% of U.S. counties account for 51% of U.S. murders. Moreover, the CPRC study found that “the worst 5% of counties,” which only “contain 47% of the population,” […]

  78. […] Los crimenes en EEUU está extremadamente concentrados (eng) […]

  79. […] the counterintuitive takeaway of a new analysis of murder in the United […]

  80. Art Sears says:

    So, compare this map with the 2016 presidential county. Looks the same. Counties voting for Hillary are high murder counties. Counties voting for Trump are low or no murder counties. Can we conclude high murder counties want gun control?
    http://brilliantmaps.com/2016-county-election-map/

  81. […] confirmed media-influenced misperceptions about gun violence. As John Lott recently noted, most Americans live in counties where no homicides occur, with or without guns. But television news reports shootings where they do occur, broadcasting to […]

  82. […] At one point in a wild weekend in Rahm’s Wild West, thirty people fell to (mostly gang-related) gunfire, nine fatally, in the span of 18 hours. Contrast that with 54 percent of American counties that didn’t see so much as a single homicide in 2014. […]

  83. […] 2% of counties in the US have 51% of the murders.. Ref: crimeresearch.org/2017/04/number-murders-county-54-us-counties-2014-zero-murders-69-1-murder/ […]

  84. Bruce says:

    Why are there so many comments which are brief excerpts of the article, with no commentary, and with similar post times? Is that the work of a troll (or three), or is there a software glitch that causes these posts, or it is a bot spamming attack, or what?

    • johnrlott says:

      It is neither, Bruce. They are links that people put to this web page on their website. The part in quotes is what they posted on their page from our web page.

  85. […] households are 28.6% more likely to own guns than urban households. Despite lower gun ownership, urban areas experience much higher murder rates. It is interesting to note that so much of the country has both very high […]

  86. Wysiwyg Mtwzzyzx says:

    I wanted to tweet this out today, but am concerned about reliability. I see one error for certain- the city map for Los Angeles shows one murder for Van Nuys. Van Nuys had 50 murders in 2014. But the overall scatter seems not out of reasonable for a more limited time span, but it’s not identified that way. Can you clarify what parameters the map is showing (time span, year), and/or where the map data come from?

    Thank you

  87. Dan says:

    Is this only showing gun related murders ?

  88. […] to an April 2017 research article by the Crime Prevention Research Center, more than half of American counties had zero murders in […]

  89. […] to an April 2017 research article by the Crime Prevention Research Center, more than half of American counties had zero murders in […]

  90. […] to an April 2017 research article by the Crime Prevention Research Center, more than half of American counties had zero murders in […]

  91. […] to an April 2017 research article by the Crime Prevention Research Center, more than half of American counties had zero murders in […]

  92. […] IIMurders in US very concentrated: 54% of US  counties in 2014 had zero murders, 2% of  counties have 51% of the murders – […]

  93. […] en studie från 2014 (som kan läsas här) var 54% av USA:s counties fria från mord. Samtidigt stod 2% av alla counties för 51% av alla […]

  94. […] mellan friare vapenlagar och fler mord/vapenvåld. Enligt en studie från 2014 (som kan läsas här) var 54% av USA:s counties fria från mord. Samtidigt stod 2% av alla counties för 51% av alla […]

  95. […] to an April 2017 research article by the Crime Prevention Research Center, more than half of American counties had zero murders in […]

  96. […] to an April 2017 research article by the Crime Prevention Research Center, more than half of American counties had zero murders in […]

  97. […] to an April 2017 research article by the Crime Prevention Research Center, more than half of American counties had zero murders in […]

  98. […] In the meantime, in an enormous share of the remainder of the nation, homicides are very uncommon: […]

  99. […] Meanwhile, in a huge percentage of the rest of the country, homicides are very rare: […]

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