1% of Counties Account for 42% of the United States’ Homicides

While homicide rates have been on the rise in the United States, most of the country has not been affected by this alarming trend. 

According to a report by The Washington Times, only a small portion of US counties account for the overwhelming majority of the country’s homicides. 

John R. Lott Jr., the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, conducted the study that The Washington Times. referred to. The worst 31 counties in terms of homicides, which are generally located in urban areas, have roughly a fifth of the nation’s population but made up 42% of the nation’s homicides in 2020. 

The worst 5% of counties were responsible for 73% of homicides. This represented a notable increase from 2014 (69%) and 2016 (70%).

On the other hand, 52% of counties recorded no homicides in 2020. An additional 16% had only one homicide record. 

“Murders are a problem in a very small percentage of the counties in the United States,” Lott said to The Washington Times.

Even in the counties with high homicides, the crime is still concentrated in certain areas, per Lott’s research.

According to the research Lott conducted for Los Angeles County, 10% of the county’s ZIP codes made up 41% of the homicides. An additional 10% accounted for 26% more.

“Murder isn’t a nationwide problem. It’s a problem in a small set of urban areas, and even in those counties murders are concentrated in small areas inside them, and any solution must reduce those murders,” Lott noted in the report.

Lott heavily used FBI data for his study. For example, he cited the bureau’s Supplementary Homicide Report. For states that don’t send crime data to the FBI or where the data is perceived to have figures that are vastly undercounted, he turned to public uniform crime reports.

Cook County. Illinois — where Chicago is located — led the nation with 775 homicides in 2020. Los Angeles County came in second place at 691, Harris County (where Houston is located in) was in third place at 537, Philadelphia stood in fourth place at 495, and New York City landed in fifth place at 465.

Lott’s figures show that the aforementioned five jurisdictions accounted for roughly 15% of 2022’s homicides.

Lott believes that the alarming occurrence of crime in these jurisdictions is the product of lax approaches to criminal justice. 

“It’s primarily in those heavily urban areas where you’re having the most lax approaches to crime on average, and that’s where we’re seeing the biggest increases,” he said to The Times. “That’s why we’re seeing their share of murders and other violent crimes increased.”

Lott nails it here. He has long advocated for increased gun ownership among America’s law-abiding citizens. Relaxation of gun control laws would go a long way in securing people living in traditionally dangerous American cities. However, tougher policies towards criminals are what’s ultimately needed to restore order in these jurisdictions where negligent district attorneys and pro-criminal politicians have allowed criminals to turn these areas into mini-Gothams. 

The only language that criminals understand is force. It’s going to take unapologetic law & order campaigns to clean up the streets and make America’s once great cities hospitable again. 

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