There’s No Such Thing as an “American” Homicide Rate

 

(From Mises)

There are clear regional differences in many cases. States in the far north and far northeast of the United States report very low homicide rates while certain homicide “hotspots” apparently in Missouri, Maryland, Illinois, and the deep South are driving up US rates.

These details emphasize the mistake of speaking of the nationwide US homicide rate as if it were in anyway descriptive of any single trend or legislative reality in the US.

We often hear about homicides are rampant in “America” — presumably caused by high levels of private gun ownership — but any serious look at the numbers forces us to refine our question and instead ask why some parts of the US have some of the lowest homicide rates on earth, while the situation in other areas is considerably different.

Some places largely free of gun restrictions — like the Dakotas, Utah, Idaho, Minnesota, Vermont, and New Hampshire — have very low homicide rates. But other places with similar or more restrictive laws — such as Missouri, California, and most of Latin America — have much higher rates. Obviously, homicide rates are not simply a function of gun laws.

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