January 18, 2013

Murder rate lowest since 1963

Neely Tucker, Washington Post - The national homicide rate for 2011 was 4.8 per 100,000 citizens - less than half of what it was in the early years of the Great Depression, when it peaked before falling precipitously before World War II. The peak in modern times of 10.2 was in 1980, as recorded by national criminal statistics.

"We’re at as low a place as we’ve been in the past 100 years,” says Randolph Roth, professor of history at Ohio State University and author of this year’s “American Homicide,” a landmark study of the history of killing in the United States. “The rate oscillates between about 5 and 9 [per 100,000], sometimes a little higher or lower, and we’re right at the bottom end of that oscillation.”

Last year’s rate was the lowest of any year since 1963, when the rate was 4.6, according to the Uniform Crime Reports compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Don’t relax quite yet: Americans still kill one another at a much higher rate than do citizens of other wealthy nations.

“By international standards, we never really get to ‘low,’” Roth says.

And, no matter what your favorite politician says about gun control or the lack of it, the homicide rate has been near stagnant or falling for 21 consecutive years even as images of violence have proliferated, even as the stock market has soared and crashed, as political upheavals have come and gone, as drugs have waxed and waned, even as the number of high-profile mass killings like the one in Newtown has risen.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If the US "low" murder rates are not that low compared to other wealthy countries, it's because economic inequality is high.