Rafael A, Mangual compiles list of cities with record homicide rates in 2021

Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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35 Responses

  1. Greg In Ak
    Ignored
    says:

    The main problem with all the data on crime/murders we have is there is lots of data but nobody has a clue what it all means. This is leaving aside the culture warriors dupes who are screaming about leaving the cities. The screaming heads are trying to cherry pick data to fire up their bases or making conclusions with no basis.

    From what i had seen murder rates are, as noted, high is some cities but also low in other cities. There is no pattern across red/blue governed states or a connection to the very little budget cutting that happened. There is also a really weird deal , link below from Kevin Drum pointing out that the violent crime rate and murder have diverged for the first time in decades with murder up but violent crime rate is steady. Weird and who the hell knows.

    https://jabberwocking.com/an-american-crime-mystery-why-is-murder-up-while-overall-violence-is-down/Report

    • Philip H in reply to Greg In Ak
      Ignored
      says:

      At best – and I think its a huge stretch – you MIGHT to patternation regionally. Might.

      The really useful analysis – not presented here – is what were the economies doing at the same time. What was housing doing. What was education doing. Crime stats in a vacuum are nearly useless.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        “Crime regresses to mean after local minimum” is a story that can be easily sensationalized (and, indeed, has been).

        “New record” is a different kind of stat.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        You’re making the classic mistake of treating lefty dogma as a legitimate model of how the world works. In the US, while property crime does fluctuate a bit (though not nearly as much as you might think) in response to economic conditions, violent crime in general and more specifically the homicide rate does not. The Great Recession provides a striking example of this: The homicide rate fell steadily through the 90s, then plateaued from 2000-2006, then fell again from 2007-2014, not rebounding until 2015, five years into the recovery. It then remained at this elevated level until 2019.

        The 2020 recession was unique in that it was largely an engineered supply-side recession. The expanded unemployment benefits actually resulted in increased income for many people who were laid off, and while overall poverty increased a bit, the black poverty rate was unchanged from 2019. Judging purely from economic data, you would think (based on the poverty-causes-crime hypothesis) that homicide would have spiked dramatically in 2009 and increased only marginally in 2020, but the opposite happened.

        Note that the fact that poverty is correlated with crime at an individual level within countries doesn’t prove that poverty causes crime any more than it proves that crime causes poverty. The more likely explanation is that poverty and crime have shared causes.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg
          Ignored
          says:

          I agree they have shared causes. We never focus on the shared causes.

          The really useful analysis – not presented here – is what were the economies doing at the same time. What was housing doing. What was education doing. Crime stats in a vacuum are nearly useless.

          Report

  2. Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    One of the things that always struck me as a city dweller of nearly 20 years is that America seems to be stuck in this very weird dichotomy of thinking about cities:

    1. Even well before COVID, I would still meet plenty of people who thought of cities as being stuck in the bad days of the late 1970s and 80s when crime was really rampant. Think of all those images from 1970s New York where entire subway cars are just decked out in graffiti on the interior and exterior. The people with these viewpoints were not necessarily old enough to remember these days and this view was hoisted on every city.

    2. In bluer circles, you have people who complain about how boring and unvibrant and expensive cities are now because white, formally suburban, business majors decided cities were a great place to live. It is no longer the would-be poets moving in.

    As Greg said, there is a lot of data but it is very hard to determine. I have been the victim of burglary but that was in 2009. Certain street crimes do appear to be on the rise like smashing the windows of parked cars to obtain goods inside. But even if murder was on the rise in 2020, it never made me feel unsafe or like I was going to be a victim. Lots of stuff like the tweet seems like intentional culture war panic.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      But even if murder was on the rise in 2020, it never made me feel unsafe or like I was going to be a victim. Lots of stuff like the tweet seems like intentional culture war panic.

      This isn’t one tweet linking to one story. This is 31 tweets linking to 31 different local stories.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Remember how “Portland was burning” last year? I’m, sure Twitter remembers. Of course it was a six block radius around the federal courthouse, and it was only at night, and usually after some provocative move by unbadged federal authorities. The rest of Portland – by Portland’s own reporting – was fine.

      But Portland was burning! Which just proves your point that we don’t have narratives that match actual facts on the ground.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        Here is the Portland article from Portland’s own KGW:

        PORTLAND, Ore. — A Sunday morning shooting in Old Town put 2021 in the record books for most homicides in Portland in a year, Portland police said. The man and woman killed Sunday morning will be the 71st and 72nd to die by homicide pending the medical examiner’s report, police said.

        That passes the old Portland record of 70 homicides set in 1987, with more than two months left to go in 2021. The record technically fell even before today, as the 1987 homicide count includes four fatal shootings by law enforcement. The police killing of Robert Delgado is not included in their count of 72.

        Report

  3. Dark Matter
    Ignored
    says:

    Probably a Covid 2nd or 3rd order effect.Report

  4. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    First, do we know that this is actually true? That is, has any other authoritative source corroborated the findings?
    Because crime is one the most heavily distorted statistics in propaganda..

    But getting past that, what kind of murders are we talking about? This is vital to reaching an understanding of what this means.

    Because right next to the data point of killings being up, we have most other types of crime being down.

    Like Saul I live in a dense urban are that probably shows a high crime rate, yet I don’t experience any of it, even though I walk through Skid Row frequently.

    My experience is that most assaults and murders are one criminal attacking another. Random street crime appears to be rare among my neighbors.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Statistical distortion likely cuts the crime stats, with petty theft and quality-of-life laws decreasingly enforced. Also, we’re coming off a record year in arson and overdoses, so you’d have to hope they’ll be down this year.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Chip, every single tweet in the thread links to a news story.

      This is not a national news story that says “these 31 cities have spikes in murder!”, these are 31 local stories that say “we’ve got a spike in murder”.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Aren’t you the guy who warns us against taking the mainstream media at face value?

        I’m not saying he’s wrong but news media coverage of crime tends to just regurgitate police union talking points.

        Like that one a few days ago that asserted that the cops used to clear 90% of murders, which was a baldfaced lie.

        I’d need to see a bit more before I jump on the “OuttaControlCrime” bandwagonReport

        • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          If the police say “we solved 120% of crimes”, I know that they’re lying.

          If the police say “500 people were murdered last year”, I can do something like google “philly 500 murders” and see if anything comes up.

          I just have to look at, oh, the first 10 links or so to figure out if I can dismiss it as obvious bullshit or if, maybe, there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 murders in Philadelphia.

          Click on the link for yourself and see what it says.

          And then do similar for something like “Louisville murders 2021” and just look at that first page of results.

          Not, you know, to *PROVE* that the numbers are exactly what the mainstream media says they are, but to see whether the claim is bullshit on its face or whether there’s something there.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I would prefer hearing from other criminologists,rather than armchair amateurs doing their own research.

            But I have no doubt that murders are up. It would be strange (but not unheard of) for this many reports to all be false.

            But even accepting the data point, what this means in context is pretty important.Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      National Murder rate was up something like 30% between 2019 and 2020.
      I looked up the exact numbers but closed those sites before you asked.
      It seems pretty across the board which is weird.
      It’s pretty clearly a “trend” and it’s very reasonable for it to be up again this year.

      The two big possibilities are covid and the police needing to deal with other unrest issues, but that’s just me looking at the timing.Report

      • Greg In Ak in reply to Dark Matter
        Ignored
        says:

        Those don’t really make sense given there is no obvious pattern in where murder has risen and where it hasn’t. Also per Drum’s link i put above, there is a really weird disconnect between murder and the rest of violent crime. Violent crime should.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Greg In Ak
          Ignored
          says:

          This kinda what I’m getting at.

          Murders are often implied as a proxy variable for “Crime” writ large but it’s probably not true.

          Like, there could be a lot of murders in your city but unless you are a criminal or hang out with criminals you’re as safe as in a low crime area.Report

          • Greg In Ak in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            That is Anchorage to a T. Almost all murders are drug or DV related. This is terrible on its own and needs addressing. However it doesn’t effect most people and especially the people who are most scared. The most scared of course are the safest people in general. Some exceptions apply of course mostly with people in relationships with DV. DV is very much not easily solved nor is more guns the answer there even given that self defense is a valid reason to own a gun. In most DV related murders the gun owner was the murderer.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels
            Ignored
            says:

            2020 was a really odd duck of a year and the data on this lags so we’re just starting to see it.

            Crime in general was flat to slightly down. Murder was sharply up.

            I don’t mind don’t mind making raw guesses, being wrong, and changing my mind when better data comes out.

            This reads like Covid. All the money the gov threw around and the general “shelter in place” reduced crime but also raised everyone’s stress in general.

            unless you are a criminal or hang out with criminals you’re as safe as in a low crime area.

            I couldn’t find anything national, but Baltimore had a report. Most murder victims are criminals. https://theoutline.com/post/7752/victim-offender-overlap

            On January 2 of this year, the Baltimore Police Department sent out its annual analysis of the city’s homicides: in 2018, there were 309. The majority of the victims were killed in the street and almost sixty percent died from a gunshot wound to the head. Ninety-four percent were black men.

            The analysis also included data on the criminal records of the victims. The vast majority of homicide victims had been arrested before. One in four were either on parole or probation when they died.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter
              Ignored
              says:

              Your guess is about as good as any.
              No one has yet nailed an explanation for the multi-decade drop in crime.

              Explanations abound such as environmental lead, abortion, the Great Society and the breakup of the Beatles.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Chip, the FBI does an annual survey of crimes, called Crime in the United States. That’s the closest thing that I know to an apples-to-apples, nationwide survey of this nature. And it takes them a long time; the most recent available report is for 2019.

      So if history holds, we’ll be able to get their overview on the information we’re trying to see clearly here by some time in 2023.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        You’ll need to wait for data on lesser crimes, but the CDC’s provisional numbers for 2020 are out now, and they’re pretty bad. The homicide rate was 5.8 in 2019, and 7.5 in 2020. But things didn’t really get moving until partway through Q2; for Q3 and Q4, the annualized rates were 8.4 and 8.2.

        And if a bunch of new records are being set this year, next year’s numbers will likely be worse.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Murder is likely the crime for which we have the most accurate statistics. Everything else is likely to be understated, for a number of reasons. Victims may not report the crimes to police, some jurisdictions don’t report to the FBI, and arrest data only count crimes for which arrests were made. NCVS (victim survey) data consistently suggest much, much higher rates of violent crime than might naively be inferred from arrest data. It is possible that this overstates crime due to mischievous responders, though.

      But dead bodies are dead bodies, and reporting homicides to the CDC is mandatory, so they keep pretty accurate track of those. Occasionally a homicide may end up getting reported as an accident or suicide, or even totally unreported if the victim has no family and the killer hides the body well, but this is unlikely to distort trends significantly.Report

  5. Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    Well, this is terrible news. May next year be more peaceful.Report

  6. Brandon Berg
    Ignored
    says:

    Philadelphia’s population, it should be noted, was almost exactly the same in 2019 as it was in 1990.Report

  7. Suzanne
    Ignored
    says:

    So, what do we do? Just ride it out? 🙁Report

    • Dark Matter in reply to Suzanne
      Ignored
      says:

      Wait for better data.

      While we’re waiting, we could try to do useful things;
      End Covid.
      Remove Lead from water.
      Maybe end the War on Drugs.
      Maybe reform the police.Report

    • Swami in reply to Suzanne
      Ignored
      says:

      The most important thing is that we not under any circumstance think that it might have something to do with the riots, media coverage and political flak that demonized police and encouraged minorities to resist police authority on the very month that the murders spiked. Can we all at least agree on this?

      Let’s all say it together…. There is no such thing as a Ferguson effect.Report

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