Latest Research: Murder Isn’t a Gun Problem, It’s a Blue City Crime Center Problem


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Murders occur overwhelmingly in dense urban areas, many with tough anti-gun restrictions, and far less in suburban and rural areas where firearm ownership is more common, according to a national study of killings.

“This research shows that murders in the U.S. are highly concentrated in tiny areas in the U.S. and that they are becoming even more concentrated in recent years,” said the report from John R. Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center.

The new report, shared with Secrets, showed that big cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., are murder centers and that even in those cities, the areas where killings occur are growing more concentrated.

Lott’s report is all numbers and little editorial. It describes a nation that is seen on TV every night: shootings are common in cities. …

His top 10 list of murder areas included Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, New York City, Detroit, Baltimore, Dallas, Miami, and Washington.

“Murder isn’t a nationwide problem,” Lott’s study said. “It’s a problem in a small set of urban areas and even in those counties murders are concentrated in small areas inside them, and any solution must reduce those murders,” it added.

Lott’s crime center often writes about gun use and crime, and he included a note that challenges conventional thinking that the surge in legal gun ownership has led to more killings.

“According to a 2021 PEW Research Center survey, the household gun ownership rate in rural areas was 79% higher than in urban areas. Suburban households are 37.9% 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. However, it is still interesting to note that so much of the country has both very high gun ownership rates and zero murders,” he said.

—  Paul Bedard, Washington Secrets Columnist in Murders up in Urban Areas, Not Gun-Friendly Counties

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