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People Aren’t Murdered Very Often

February 16, 2012

HBD-denialism and crime-exaggeration are two of my intellectual pet-peeves. But I sometimes forget the second while thinking about the first.

When you look at crime broken down by race, the differences are pretty striking. In the USA, for example, blacks constitute about 12% of the population but commit more than 50% of all murders.

On the other hand, there aren’t that many murders. People watch a lot of TV, and it can be pretty hard to convince them that there aren’t serial killers and pedophiles on every block, but in reality things aren’t that bad. Take Toronto. The whole GTA has a population of slightly over six million. Last year the GTA had seventy-five murders. That’s one murder for every eighty-thousand people for the year. Sure, it’s not quite as good as Iceland, but it’s hardly shocking.

Let’s put these two things together. Suppose that half of all murders in Toronto are committed by black men (I’m just making this up—the Toronto police keep, but don’t release, stats). And assume a 8% figure for blacks in the GTA, which gives us 240,000 black men. In that case, one out of every 6,486 black men committed a murder in 2011. Which is nothing. It might translate to a much higher rate than for East Asians, but it’s still negligible.

The picture is different when you look at smaller crimes and social pathologies in general. Those things make a big difference to quality of life and social friction. But still.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2012 6:02 pm

    And even South Africa’s homicide rate would seem pretty good to a Yanomami.

    It’s true that murders aren’t really very common – I mean, even in South Africa, only about 1 in 2,850 is murdered per year.

    So at an absolute level, things aren’t so bad.

    On the other hand, as you mention, all those other crimes are much more common than murder:

    For example, violent crime more generally: as of 2002, blacks in Toronto committed about 30% of it. Since the violent crime rate is 738/100,000 that would be about 13,200 committed by blacks: 480,000 / 13,200 = 36. So 1 in 36 blacks commits violent crime as opposed to 1 in 177 for the rest of the population.) Or, assuming all violent crime is male, 1 in 16 black men compared to 1 in 88.5 non-black men.
    Or, if we do the same thing with sexual assaults, 1 in 286 black males are responsible vs 1 in 1375 non-black males in a year.

    (all of this assumes 1 crime = 1 unique criminal)

    So homicides themselves might not be particularly common, but unless it’s the same people that are being murdered, raped, assaulted, robbed, etc, (or committing all these crimes), things things add up pretty quickly to, for example, a much larger chunk of the black population causing problems, to a degree that is actually noticeable.

    Homicide rates are, I think, a useful way to show how screwed up a society is.

    Also, I’d like to see what percentage of black men vs white and asian men get in trouble with the law in one way or another over the whole period of their lives, rather than in just one year.

  2. Gunn permalink
    March 11, 2012 12:25 pm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_cities_by_crime_rate
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._cities_with_large_African_American_populations

    If you order the first link by murder rate, you spot a bit of a trend. The top 5 cities in the USA for murder have 49% – 82% black populations.

    Then, for laughs and giggles, compare it to the following list (again, sort by murder rate):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    If New Orleans was a country in its own right, it would have the 4th worst murder rate in the world in 2010 (beaten only by Honduras, El Salvador, and Jamaica).

    Newark, the 5th worst city for murder in the USA in 2010 is comparable to South Africa, which is 10th worst country in the world for murder in 2010.

    The numbers are slightly out, as the US statistics are for murder and non-negligent manslaughter, which may not be comparable to the country numbers, but the general pattern is fairly obvious I think.

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