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Monday, September 26, 2005

Crime stats don't reveal what you might think

An interesting report on statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice on Criminal Victimization for last year.  Dalton McGuinty, David Miller and the rest of us judgemental Canadians would do well to take a good look at it.  Here are the highlights (all emphasis added):

Though the downward trend in crime rates has
stabilized, violent and property crime rates in
2004 remain at the lowest levels recorded since
the survey's inception in 1973.

*  Rates for all major categories of nonlethal
crime remained stable from 2003 to 2004.

*  The rate of violent crime dropped 9% from the
period 2001-02 to the period 2003-04.

*  From 1993 to 2004 the rate for crimes of
violence was down 57%, from 50 to 21
victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older.

*  Reporting of crime to the police increased
significantly from 1993 to 2004. Reporting rose
from 42% to 50% of violent crimes and from 34%
to 39% of property crimes.

*  During 2004, 22% of all violent crime incidents
were committed by an armed offender; 6%, by an
offender with a firearm.

*  During 2004 males were about as vulnerable to
violence by strangers (50% of the violence against
males) as by nonstrangers (48%), while females were
most often victimized by nonstrangers (64%).

*  Between 2001-02 and 2003-04 violent crime
decreased 17% in the West, from 31 to 26
victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or

*  Violent victimizations in urban areas fell
14% from 2001-02 to 2003-04.

*  Based on preliminary 2004 data from the FBI,
the number of persons murdered in the United
States decreased 3.6% between 2003 and 2004.

Not the dire predictions you hear from our fearless leaders, in Canadian politics -- and you certainly won't see this on the front page of the Globe and Mail (or anywhere within it, for that matter)  Why?  Because they are all too busy telling us that our gun violence problems and the climbing murder rate in the GTA, is all the fault of those nasty Americans and their embrace of the Second Amendment (The right to bear arms).  Even though there is no prevailing evidence that gun possession can be definitively linked to violent crime.

To be sure, a gun may make an attack more lethal, and certainly easier to accomplish from an escapable distance - but it no longer seems to be the weapon of choice, for violent assault.  Hence, continuing to flail about, begging for stiffer regulation of gun ownership and ignoring any real solutions,will only serve to perpetuate the culture of victimization that we are becoming.

A child gets shot on the street in Toronto and immediately there are calls for a further clamp-down on guns, but no mention of actually stiffening the punishment for those who use guns to kill.  Some may argue that without the gun, no one gets killed.  But to believe that, would require a complete negation of the reality that those who have the desire and motivation to kill will do so, no matter the weapon.  Being determined enough, a new law to restrict gun possession will not deter them from finding or stealing one -- or simply resorting to another weapon or their own 2 hands.

A friend of mine - who adamantly disagrees with me, about gun possession - sent me a link to the Smith & Wesson Gun Cam.  It caused uproarious laughter at my house, but when the snorts abated, it became clear that the guy who runs the site makes a very good point: A gun is not capable of initiating any violence.  It must be wielded as a tool, by someone who is willing to kill.  But a crime is much like a home renovation -- If I need a screwdriver and none is at hand, I will improvise and use a butter knife, or a quarter, or anything else I can get my hot little hands on, that will suffice.  With my determination, nothing is going to stop me from turning that screw!

However, regardless of how many statistics come out that prove how wrong they are; And no matter how many times the victims are denied the right to defend themselves, while the criminals continue to arm themselves -- Don't expect that the gun-babies are going to change their tune, any time soon.  They're too busy trying to find a way to relate -on an emotional level- with the criminals and find someone else to blame for crime, while an honest farmer in the backwoods of Saskatchewan languishes in jail, for failing to register his hunting rifle.

North American Patriot

Posted by Wonder Woman on September 26, 2005 | Permalink


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I think the biggest thing about the rest of the world thinking we in America are a nation of "gun nuts" and loving our Bill of Rights (especially the 2nd ammendment, because it is the teeth that protect the rest) is because the constitution was not written to grant us rights, only to recognize the rights we already had!
In other words, the constitution was not written to tell "we the people" what we COULD do, it was written to tell the government what it COULD NOT DO.
I am the owner of quite the collection of guns including a so called "assault rifle",who's sole purpose is what the original intent of the 2nd. ammendment truly is; to take back our country from a tyrannical out of control government,(You can't do that with a flintlock anymore.)
George Washington pretty much summed it up when he said " The best defense against tyranny is a well armed citizenry".
My whole point is that with all the guns I own, no one has anything to fear from me, because I have no intention, or desire to do anyone harm.
So the more intrusive gun laws you make only hurt me, not the crimminal who laughs in the face of the law makers and the rest of society.

Posted by: Steve | 2005-09-26 9:06:15 AM

This the same argument that Micheal Moore made in 'Bowling for Columbine'!

A side thesis of 'Bowling for Columbine' was that several groups have an interest in keeping people scared. Not least being that violence sells. Thus in the media we have the maxim: If it bleeds it leads.

Moore even trotted out some guy who had written a book about the irony of media representations of urban violence while the crime rates were falling.

Lots of lefty types in Toronto attacked ex-police chief Fantino over exactly this same thing. Remember when Fantino wanted a helicopter? Remember when John Tory put out those ads claiming crime was up and we needed more cops?

They were laughed at since the statistics clearly showed that crime was down.

I am surprised to see the Western Standard take up this obvious lefty trope.

Posted by: Micheal Moore Lives! | 2005-09-26 9:48:08 AM

MML- I'm puzzled by your post. The analysis was that US crime rates are down. Canadian crime rates, on the other hand, have increased.

The correlation was that the US gov't permits guns AND their crime rates are down. The Canadian gov't rejects guns AND their crime rates are UP. There's no causal link between the two variables and the point is to show that Canada is NOT doing something right; it's going after the gun-owners and ignoring the criminals. Therefore, Canadian crime rates have rapidly increased.
Nothing left or right about it.

Posted by: ET | 2005-09-26 9:57:05 AM

The peacenik No-Gun utopia is just that....a concept that will never see a physical incarnation on this plane of reality. The Lib-left has been chasing this utopian myth since the 60s and they will never find it. I refuse to give up my personal security and become a social experiment/statistic to be sacrificed on the alter of errant ideals.

John Lott's studies nuked their little utopian dreamscape and every untampered crime stat proves him right.

Empowering civilians with self defense/citizen arrest rights and rights to bear arms for personal security to use when there is no police presence during the commission of a crime has, in essence, expanded the enforcement of law with every carry permit issued to a responsible civilian. If armed and violent crimes are down the most effective deterrent was the danger that armed and empowered civilians represents to the criminal. He wants a "victim" not an armed citizen. The beauty of this system is that not eveyone must be armed to see the effect....just the few who are capable and motivated to use armed defense are all that's necessary.....just the threat that any potential victim could be armed has escalated the fatality risk in the criminal’s mind and many abandon confrontational crime as a result.

If guns in the hands of a responsible person were of no use in deterring and containing crime/criminals then they'd issue flowers to cops instead of Glocks. The Canadian gun hater peacenik myth has NEVER proven more fallacious than in the GTA at Jane and Finch.


Frankly, I have no idea why people who don't possess the clarity of mind to know friend from foe, or who denounce citizen self preservation in favor of utopian occultism have any business being in the justice system of a civil society.

Posted by: WLMackenzie redux | 2005-09-26 10:16:10 AM

Thanks, ET...I was starting to worry that my point had gotten horribly lost! To clarify: An armed citizenry prevents crime better than any feel-good rehab course, and gun-toting American stats prove that.

Posted by: Wonder Woman | 2005-09-26 10:36:54 AM

Excellent post, WW!
After years of looking at the fiasco of the Liebrals C-68, I've come to the conclusion that it is the single greatest threat to freedom in our history. Worse than ineffective senates, courts, left-wing media, and all the myriad concerns we have. Not paranoia on my part, just an objective study of human beings in the light of the species' history. And as long as we're quoting statistics, I'll pass on another: All through recorded history, and especially in the last century, more citizens have collectively been tortured and killed by their own governments than any other cause, including foreign attack. Of couse, this is Canada, and that could never happen here...

Mad Mike

Posted by: Mad Mike | 2005-09-26 11:29:47 AM

I think you might want to look again at the data. Maybe even check it against other studies.

The downward crime trend was mentioned and discussed in Bowling for Columbine. That was my point. To say that politicians are manipulating a feeling that the world is getting more violent is to make the same point as big Mike.

Or were you saying that Canada is getting more violent?

The Canadian murder rate is rising? By what? 1 person? In Toronto, it was down last year.

The politicians, Global and CTV might be saying the murder rate is rising but it isn't significantly according to the statistics. Even with Toronto's annual summer gang war.

Which was a major piont of Big Mike's 'Bowling for Columbine'. That politicians and the media manipulate perceptions of violence to further their interests.

What a joke this place is! Don't let anything invade your blinkers, you might have to think.


Posted by: MML | 2005-09-26 11:51:14 AM

Speaking of Columbine. Are you aware that those kids broke some 23 state, federal, and local gun laws to carry out that horrendous crime?
Are you one of those ( like that moron MM) who think another 23 laws would have changed what happened.

Posted by: Steve | 2005-09-26 12:43:10 PM

MML - I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't insult other people. Stick to the issues, and discuss only the issues. Don't sneer at or insult people. OK?

I'm sorry, but I wouldn't accept any film of Michal Moore's as having any facticity nor do I accept his opinion as having any validity. You do.

So- the facts. Yes, statistics do show a decreasing crime rate since a peak a decade ago, but, if we take it year by year, then, according to the statistics, the crime rate in Canada is again going up over the last five years from 8,432 per 100,000 in 2000 to 8,834 per 100,000 in 2004.
Violent crimes are also up, from 7,666/100,000 in 2000 to 8,050 in 2004.

Also statistics Canada: 'the crime rate fell a marginal 1% in 2004 (from 2003) but the national homicide rate increased 12%'

Predictions (Fraser Institute) are that Canada will see a gradual increase in crime rates for the next five years at least.

Causes? One can come up with all kinds of causes; from demographics (population age) to economic to ..whatever. However, in Canada, I think it is indisputable that it is far easier to commit a crime, and get away with it, than it is in the USA. Upper class crime in Canada is treated with deference - Coffin, Radzwanski, Gagliano etc. You don't get away with that in the US. You couldn't get away with an Air India terrorism in the US. Lower class crime is treated with indifference; you are 'held' until your trial, and your 'holding time' counts twice, triple any jail time, and you are actually, if, if, if, given a sentence, back out on the streets, carrying on exactly as before, in less time that it takes to open the door.

However, you are quite right that what has increased is the media coverage of crime. That is quite something! I agree - you see never-ending reports of violent crime on the TV, and the reporters are always very busy 'filling-in' time by asking bystanders if they are now 'more afraid' to live in that location. And you get breathless reporters showing scenes of bystanders all hugging each other and weeping..while the camera quickly glides over those who are so 'zipped' to be on TV that they are smiling.

So, yes, the media coverage has increased. However, I'd need more proof that this increased media coverage has any political agenda. I think the agenda rests with the TV tactic of 'grab-the-biggest-audience-by-showing-the-most-sensational" clips!!! It's about audience-grabbing; I'd need more proof of a political agenda.

And again - I don't accept anything from Michael Moore.

Posted by: ET | 2005-09-26 12:47:03 PM

MML - friendly advice: I wouldn't try to "prove" anything around here with a Michael (ugh) Moore movie.

Just a handy hint.

WW - thanks for the gun cam. My Canadian husband is totally freaked out by guns - we've been invited to a skeet shoot here near Edmonton and he says he's just going to sit and watch everyone else. "But honey, skeet's the easiest bird to shoot!" I told him (old joke). He's a good man, a noble man, but he's that freaked by guns, and I can see why in this culture (though he has the good sense to see that Michael Moore is a fraud, as well). It's hard for a nice Texas girl to comprehend, but I love him and I try.

Posted by: Meg Q | 2005-09-26 2:33:31 PM

Reason crime rate decreasing in US? High abortion rate kills off those babies at high risk of growing up and murdering fellow citizens (low socio-economic).

Crime rate increasing in Canada? Significant social safety net provides support to lower income, single mothers in bearing higher-risk babies who will grow up to commit crimes.

I have mixed feelings on this (obviously) but best-selling Freaknomics author provides food for thought.

Posted by: ErinAirton | 2005-09-26 4:24:40 PM

I was surprised when experience began to demonstrate to my wife and me that society can actually create a real Neurosis about guns. A "gun fear disorder" if you will.

We've had liberal friends come over and go into an absolute panic when I offered to show them a new revolver. I explained the gun was unloaded. They said, "It's the unloaded gun that goes off."

I explained that when we have a need to carry a revolver around the house (leaving aside here the ones we always keep loaded and within easy reach), we carry the revolver in the manner regarded as a courtesy at gun ranges. That is, the empty cylinder open and the gun upside down with the 2 middle fingers holding the cylinder open and the little and forefinger wrapped around the frame so it is obvious you are carrying an unloaded gun and have no intentions of being careless or hostile.

Our friends, who are both very intelligent and highly educated, acted as if we had said, "Oh, incidentally a rattlesnake is loose in the house, but don't worry, he's upstairs."

Just the fact that they had been made aware that they were actually in stark reality sitting in a house that really and truly had a Real Gun in it made them very uncomfortable and wish to flee the premises.

That's when I realized that there was a new socially created pathology born of the work of social engineers.

Posted by: Greg outside Dallas | 2005-09-26 4:51:14 PM

The gun cam was A good idea. I watched it for awhile expecting to see the gun get up and go knock off the nearest milk store, rob a bank, or kill the first person to walk by. Alas, nothing happened.
Then it came to me, what if the gun knows it's being watched! Would you commit a crime if you were not only being watched, but were on camera?

Try leaving it unattended near an open door or window where it has a fair chance of getting away and I'll bet anything crime will sky rocket in your neighborhood within say, 24 hours.

Posted by: Steve | 2005-09-27 3:01:41 AM

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