Crime

Yay USA: We've Only Got One of the Planet's Five "Murder Capitals"

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Foreign Policy lists five of the planet's most notably murderous metropoli, with murder rates per 100,000 population ranging from Moscow's 9.6 to Caracas's 130.

Our own New Orleans comes in with FBI stats of 95. (They list Moscow because it's so bad in comparison with most European capitals–but for 2007, our own capital of D.C. had a murder rate of 30.)

On the bright side, the overall U.S. murder rate has fallen since 1991 from 9.8 to 5.6.

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  1. I find that figure for Moscow to be highly dubious.

  2. Caracas, Venezuela

    Population: 3.2 million

    Murder rate: 130 per 100,000 residents (official)

    My town (Motown) is a shameful 39.4. Caracas is 3 times worse than Detroit. Wow!

  3. That sounds about right; one in five, top quartile or so. As of a couple of years ago the US was 24th in international murder rates. Sounds like we might have dropped a bit.

  4. I don’t believe that number from Moscow.

  5. I find that figure for Moscow to be highly dubious.

    I don’t believe that number from Moscow.

    Are you all saying it’s too low or too high?

    9.6 per 100K is about 1000 per year for the 10.6 million they say is the population. Which seems reasonable to me.

    This was iirc about where NYC was in the late eighties (with around the same pop). I think NYC comes in at less than 400 a year these days.

  6. I’m off a bit with those numbers. It’s more like 500-600 a year these days, but was over 2200 in 1990.

    Still, a NYC murder rate of 7ish makes the Moscow one of 9ish sound about right.

  7. It is one of the unremarked miracles of recent times that our violent crime rate has fallen consistently since 1991 or so.

  8. Are they not counting murdered journalists? Because the Moscow one can only be right if murdered journalists are not included in the tally. Maybe they’re classified as “accidental erasings”.

  9. It is one of the unremarked miracles of recent times that our violent crime rate has fallen consistently since 1991 or so.

    Some have posited that Roe v. Wade in 1973 (18 years before the falling crime rates) is a major contributing factor. Fundies hate that it might be true.

  10. I don’t buy that theory. I think it was community policing and all the gang bangers killing eachother off and/or ending up in prison by 1993 or so.

  11. As a country, Jamaica and Colombia rank higher than most of these in global comparisons.

    When I was in Jamaica last month, the security guard (unarmed of course – Jamaica has strict gun control) got shot in front of the hotel. We were in an enclosed area by the pool at the time, so we only heard the shots.

  12. Or it could be that phasing the lead out of gasoline was responsible for the drop in violent crime

  13. It is one of the unremarked miracles of recent times that our violent crime rate has fallen consistently since 1991 or so.

    Unremarked? You mean other than the million or so articles and thousands of tv mentions? I mean I realize half of those were ads for Giuliani’s presidential campaign, but still.

    Also, nitpicking here, but it’s not so consistent. It was a steep decline from around 1991-1992 through 1999 or 2000, at which point it leveled off a bit, and has perhaps fallen more gently the last few years.

    I think it was community policing and all the gang bangers killing eachother off and/or ending up in prison by 1993 or so.

    Not terribly convincing; “gang bangers” tend to be constantly replenished by more young people replacing their elders. And I don’t know what your neighborhood is like, but NYC has had the steepest decline in crime of all, and community policing doesn’t seem to have much to do with it (though some have credited a massive influx in the number of police officers).

  14. BDB, violent crime is a young sociopaths game. I’m not saying it’s true. I’m not saying it’s not. It’s definately worth considering.

  15. Or it could be that phasing the lead out of gasoline was responsible for the drop in violent crime

    I can easily build a plausible thread that postulates it as a contributing factor. Lead poisoning—>mental defects—->more criminal behavior.

    Sociolology will always be full of guesswork because there are so many contributing factors in any detected change.

  16. Exactly.

    Here’s the thread about it on slashdot, which includes a link to the NYTimes story.

    It will be interesting to see what happens soon in countries that didn’t switch to unleaded fuel until later.

  17. though some have credited a massive influx in the number of police officers

    NYC has 35,000 police officers. Compare and contrast that to New Orleans having 1,200. 30 times more police. I think it’s massive overkill but it might be part of the reason crime is low.

  18. NYC has 35,000 police officers. Compare and contrast that to New Orleans having 1,200. 30 times more police. I think it’s massive overkill but it might be part of the reason crime is low.

    True, but NYC also has 12 million people in the city on any given day (IIRC the number of actual residents is closer to 8 million), which is significantly more than New Orleans.

  19. Going by the population numbers on wikipedia, NYC has roughly 37 times more people than New Orleans, and that’s only going by residents.

  20. Stop the drug war….

    Or at least stop enforcing the laws.

    That is all.

  21. Was there not also speculation that as the Baby Boomers continued to age crime would drop? Most crooks are young males. Fewer young males=less crime.

  22. “Was there not also speculation that as the Baby Boomers continued to age crime would drop? Most crooks are young males. Fewer young males=less crime.”

    What about the baby boom echo (secondary, albeit attenuated spike in pop b/c of baby boomers having kids)? By this theory, crime should have increased during the 1990’s before falling.

  23. I live in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and we have had 1000 drug war-related murders so far this year. That amounts to 67 murders per 100,000 nad the year is only 75% over. AND it doesn’t even count non drug-related murders. We have had hundreds of yo9ung women murdered by a serial killer or killers. The total rate per hundred thousand is well over 100.

  24. “NYC has 35,000 police officers. Compare and contrast that to New Orleans having 1,200. 30 times more police. I think it’s massive overkill but it might be part of the reason crime is low.”

    NYC has become a higly desireable place to live, 20 years ago people wanted to live in the ‘burbs. Cool place = rich people. Rich people = low crime. NOLA is fine in the “wealthy” areas, it is a war zone in the poor areas. NYC proper doesn’t have a large population in the poor areas because rents have become so high over most of city. What counts as getto in NYC is pretty expensive in the rest of country. High pop density areas becoming richer is the reason the murder rate is down nationaly.

  25. Our own New Orleans comes in with FBI stats of 95.

    That’s Bush’s fault, just like the rioting after Katrina. Has nothing to do with the population of New Orleans.

  26. So I guess that list is crap. The guy from Mexico says his city has over 100 per hundred thou, and what about Colombia? Baghdad? Johannesburg?

    And the figure for Moscow is crap too.

    Also, what about the rest of Africa, they don’t have official numbers, but their are killing eachother.

  27. In Moscow, any corpse with Putin’s fingerprints on it is ruled “Death by natural causes.”

  28. Stop the drug war….

    +1

  29. Some people just need killin’

  30. “As for Caracas, some speculate that its murder rate is closer to 160 per 100,000.”

    This figure is closer to the truth.
    Things here are a real mess!
    The article fails to mention that Chavez’s government has been arming “el pueblo” to fight for “la revolucion” for years now… Placing more guns in the streets and worsening crime.

  31. “They list Moscow because it’s so bad in comparison with most European capitals–but for 2007, our own capital of D.C. had a murder rate of 30.”

    You’re using the puny central city/CBD. In Washington’s metropolitan area which is 5 million, the rate drops to 7 per 100,000 so yes, Moscow is worse.

  32. The list isn’t great apart from Caracas (though they even have a different population and murder rate from my well researched files). Cape Town is badass and they have the right population and murder rate, but even that would struggle to get in the top 5 of the cities I’m aware of.

    Guatemala City (the core city – around 1 million people) had a murder rate of 108 per 100,000 in 2006 with 1,161 fatalities. Compare that with the REAL New Orleans figure with it’s identically populous metropole (1 million) and a rate of 28 per 100,000. Apart from Caracas and Cape Town, the others shouldn’t be anywhere near this listing.

  33. do KGB and Mafia hits count in Moscow?

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