Year in Review: 2011 – Violent Crime

This is the third in a three post series on crime in North Carolina. I’ve compiled all the crime data from the various crime reports issued by the NC Department of Justice.

Part 1, Overall Crime Statistics Read this first

Part 2, Property Crime

Having already discussed overall crime and property crime, let’s turn to violent crimes. All definitions are from the Crime in North Carolina – 2011 report (PDF) In the charts below, the blue bars are the raw numbers, with the scale on the left. The red line is the rate of crime per 100,000 population and has the scale on the right. I explain this in the first post, Overall Crime, linked above.

Murder is “The willful (non-negligent) killing of one human being by another.” You will note that this includes other types of killing not normally punished as “murder” such as manslaughter.

Rape is “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will. Assaults or attempts to commit rape by force are also included.”

Robbery is “The taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence, and/or by putting the victim in fear.” This is distinct from the property crime of larceny in that robbery involves taking directly from a person, usually by force. Larceny is stealing without taking directly from a person. That’s why we consider robbery a violent crime.

Aggravated Assault is “An unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe bodily injury. This type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a weapon or other means likely to produce death or serious bodily harm. Includes attempted assaults.” This would include everything from attempted murder down to any serious assault or attempted assault.

When you put them all together, you get the overall Violent Crime Rate.

And what you see is dramatic. Violent crime is way down. This year murder rates went up very slightly, but that’s the effect of very small numbers. As my wife put it, when you are dealing with small numbers like soccer scores, a slight change in the final number has a dramatic effect on the rate. Say your team scored 10 goals last year. This year you score 12. That’s only 2 more goals, but you’ve improved 20%. You still suck, but the statistics look great.

Same thing with murder. In 2010 there were 468 murders. In 2011 there were 501, an increase of 33. That’s a 7.05% increase in raw numbers. The murder rate went from 5.1 murders per 100,000 to 5.4 murders per 100,000, which is a 5.9% increase in the murder rate. What puts it all in perspective is that there are over 9.3 million people in North Carolina. A fluctuation of  in the number of murders of this size is basically statistical noise. What’s far more important is the overall drop in murder in the last 20 years. 5.1 to 5.4 is noise. 12.0 per 100,000 down to 5.4 per 100,000 is a serious reduction in murder statewide.

All of the other crime categories are way down. There appears to be a bubble in the 2004-2008 years, but after 2008 crime has basically fallen off a cliff. Now, as I’ve pointed out in the last two posts, I’m not a believer in the Leftist refrain “poverty causes crime.” I’ve even less a believer in the theory that poverty causes violent crime. Theft as a response to poverty I could understand, but not murder.

I think it’s simpler than that. Murder has long been understood to be drug related in this country. People can’t settle their drug disputes in a court of law. If you tell the cops that your customer owes you drug money, they will arrest you for drugs, not your customer for theft. Instead, people solve their drug disputes by killing and maiming each other. With fewer murders over the last 20 years, along with a sudden and dramatic drop in aggravated assaults, I wonder if something is going on in the drug world.

Soon the state will release the official Concealed Handgun Permit numbers. Preliminary numbers show an increase of about 24.5% in the number of CHPs in Wake County, NC. Shall Issue Concealed Carry started in December of 1995 here in North Carolina. By then the violent crime rates had started to drop, and they’ve dropped steadily ever since. One thing we can say for certain is that we’ve not experienced the “Blood in the Streets!” that the anti-gunners told us we’d get from liberalizing concealed carry.

A big thank you to Linoge at Walls of the City for helping me with the charts. He showed me how to put both the raw numbers and the rate data on one chart.

7 responses to “Year in Review: 2011 – Violent Crime

  1. Pingback: Year in Review: 2011 - Overall Crime Statistics | An NC Gun BlogAn NC Gun Blog

  2. Pingback: Year in Review: 2011 - Property Crime | An NC Gun BlogAn NC Gun Blog

  3. Very well done! What year did NC get CCW?

  4. North Carolina’s Shall Issue Concealed Carry law went into effect on December 1, 1995. It would have taken 90 days for the CHPs to have been issued, so effectively the first day of March, 1996 was the first day of concealed carry here.

  5. Awesome job on the whole series, Sean; look for a post from me tomorrow, hopefully :).

  6. Thanks. From the King of Graphs, that’s high praise. I’ve emailed the DOJ (great Public Info Officer, BTW) and they’re going to put me in touch with their house stats guy when he gets back from vacation. I’ve asked for more data, as far back as they have it. Plus I’ve asked for some more sweet blogfodder. The beauty is that they have to give it to me under NC Open Records law. They just don’t have to be as nice as they’ve been about it.

    I’ll give them that. They are pretty nice about giving you the data. I suspect that secretly they are pleased that anyone actually cares.

  7. Pingback: Sean Looks At Crime Numbers and Rates | Weer'd World