Carpe Diem

At a time when violent crime in the US is the lowest in a generation why is there an epidemic of police violence?

crimeThe violent crime rate has been almost cut in half over the last 20 years, from 747.1 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 1994 to only 366.1 crimes per 100,000 last year (see chart above). So why at the same time that violent crime has been declining so consistently have we seen such an accompanying epidemic of police violence and SWAT raids, and such a “rise of the warrior cop” in America? Or in the words of John Whitehead, why have so many police search warrants turned into violent death warrants, and why have SWAT teams turned into violent death squads at a time when violent crime is in free-fall? Here’s more from John Whitehead writing for the Rutherford Institute, a civil liberties organization based in Charlottesville, Va:

How many children, old people, and law-abiding citizens have to be injured, terrorized or killed before we call a halt to the growing rash of police violence that is wracking the country? How many family pets have to be gunned down in cold blood by marauding SWAT teams before we declare such tactics off limits? And how many communities have to be transformed into military outposts, complete with heavily armed police, military tanks, and “safety” checkpoints before we draw that line in the sand that says “not in our town”?

The latest incident comes out of Atlanta, Georgia, where a SWAT team, attempting to execute a no-knock drug warrant in the middle of the night, launched a flash bang grenade into the targeted home, only to have it land in a crib where a 19-month-old baby lay sleeping. The grenade exploded in the baby’s face, burning his face, lacerating his chest, and leaving him paralyzed. He is currently in the hospital in a medically induced coma.

If this were the first instance of police overkill, if it were even the fifth, there might be hope of reforming our system of law enforcement. But what happened to this baby, whose life will never be the same, has become par for the course in a society that glorifies violence, turns a blind eye to government wrongdoing, and sanctions any act by law enforcement, no matter how misguided or wrong. Indeed, as I detail in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, this state-sponsored violence is a necessary ingredient in any totalitarian regime to ensure a compliant, cowed and fearful populace.

Thus, each time we as a rational, reasoning, free-minded people fail to be outraged by government wrongdoing—whether it’s the SWAT team raids that go awry, the senseless shootings of unarmed citizens, the stockpiling of military weapons and ammunition by government agencies (including small-town police), the unapologetic misuse of our taxpayer dollars for graft and pork, the incarceration of our fellow citizens in forced labor prisons, etc.—we become accomplices in bringing about our own downfall.

This battlefield mindset has so corrupted our law enforcement agencies that the most routine tasks, such as serving a search warrant—intended to uncover evidence of a suspected crime—becomes a death warrant for the alleged “suspect,” his family members and his pets once a SWAT team, trained to kill, is involved.

Unfortunately, SWAT teams are no longer reserved exclusively for deadly situations. Owing to the militarization of the nation’s police forces, SWAT teams are now increasingly being deployed for relatively routine police matters, with some SWAT teams being sent out as much as five times a day. For example, police in both Baltimore and Dallas have used SWAT teams to bust up poker games. A Connecticut SWAT team was sent into a bar that was believed to be serving alcohol to underage individuals. In Arizona, a SWAT team was used to break up an alleged cockfighting ring. An Atlanta SWAT team raided a music studio, allegedly out of a concern that it might have been involved in illegal music piracy.

The epidemic of police violence continues to escalate while fear of the police increases and the police state, with all its surveillance gear and military weaponry, expands around us.

MP: America, this is your War on Drugs, which has turned into a cruel, senseless, expensive, immoral, violent, and deadly war against otherwise peaceful Americans, who voluntarily choose to ingest intoxicants currently proscribed by government authorities. We can thank the War on Drugs for the disturbing epidemic of police violence against peaceful Americans, and a war that has increasingly “turned search warrants into death warrants, and SWAT teams into death squads.”

131 thoughts on “At a time when violent crime in the US is the lowest in a generation why is there an epidemic of police violence?

  1. Related question …

    At a time when violent crime is at its lowest in a generation, why is there an epidemic of people seeking concealed-and-carry gun permits? Just as there is less to fear in decades, people are getting more fearful.


    • Not necessarily. You risk making a Fox Butterfield type mistake. His infamous “More Inmates, Despite Drop In Crime” – is also a logical flaw in many other areas.

      Maybe you should consider that the drop in crime in areas where they can purchase guns easily, is partially because there are more and more people with guns, and with the ability to defend themselves.

      People sometimes wonder when driving through the countryside, why those isolated farm houses rarely get robbed. You would think that without much police protection, they would be easy targets. The answer is, most of them are armed to the teeth.

      • Well, no. The UK, which banned handguns, has a gun murder rate 1/90th ours. The myth that more guns less crime is belied by the fact the US is the most heavily armed nation on earth….and has the highest murder rate in the developed world

        In addition, the violent crime rate has been dropping across the developed world

        • “Maybe you should consider that the drop in crime in areas where they can purchase guns easily, is partially because there are more and more people with guns, and with the ability to defend themselves.”

          The drop in crime began during the early-mid 90′s (see Mark’s chart above). The article said the increase in carry-and-conceal permits didn’t begin until about 2005. Thus, the drop in crime began at least 10 years before more people started carrying concealed guns. Thus, the drop in crime has had nothing to do with concealed weapons permits.

          • “The purpose of the present study is to determine the effects of state-level assault weapons bans and concealed weapons laws on state-level murder rates. Using data for the period 1980 to 2009 and controlling for state and year fixed effects, the results of the present study suggest that states with restrictions on the carrying of concealed weapons had higher gun-related murder rates than other states. It was also found that assault weapons bans did not significantly affect murder rates at the state level. These results suggest that restrictive concealed weapons laws may cause an increase in gun-related murders at the state level. The results of this study are consistent with some prior research in this area, most notably Lott and Mustard (1997).” — Powerline

          • The initial drop in crime probably had little to do with guns. The continued drop may have had a lot to do with gun ownership. It could very well be that the trend would have flatllined without the addition of guns into the equation.

            Gun deaths for example dropped precipitously once folks in DC were allowed to own guns again.

          • And yet America, the most heavily armed nation on earth, has the highest murder rate in the developed world

            Contradicting the gun advocate’s position

          • From your own reference


            “While the U.S. violent-crime rate is less than half Britain’s, its homicide rate between 2003 and 2011 was almost four times as high.”

            Crimes which are VIOLENT in the UK become MURDER here. 400% higher MURDER RATE??

        • According to the Mail, Britons suffer 1,158,957 violent crimes per year, which works out at 2,034 per 100,000 residents. By contrast the number in notoriously violent South Africa is 1,609 per 100,000.

          The U.S., meanwhile, has a rate of 466 crimes per 100,000 residents, which is lower than France’s, at 504; Finland’s, at 738; Sweden’s, at 1123; and Canada’s at 935.

          As a result of both the different ways in which these statistics are collected and of varying definitions of “violent crime,” there will naturally be some discrepancies between countries. Enough to account for a 5:1 difference between Britain and the United States, though? I rather think not. — National Review

          The most violent country in Europe – UK Daily Mail

          • Murder is a violent crime. Crimes which THERE would be violent HERE turn into murder.

            Go ahead. Compare our murder rate to 3rd world countries like South Africa. It’s proof that you’re using a losing argument

            Finland has a HUGE number of guns compared to the rest of Europe. Canada, you say has 2X our crime rate

            We have 2X their MURDER rate.

            You seem to trivialize murder. No doubt because our murder rate is so high…directly contradicting the gun advocate’s position

          • further, within the US, areas with more legal guns have LOWER murder rates while the areas with strict gun laws have higher rates of homicide.

            this holds true in EU countries as well.


            The findings of two criminologists – Prof. Don Kates and Prof. Gary Mauser – in their exhaustive study of American and European gun laws and violence rates, are telling:

            Nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not. The study found that the nine European nations with the lowest rates of gun ownership (5,000 or fewer guns per 100,000 population) have a combined murder rate three times higher than that of the nine nations with the highest rates of gun ownership (at least 15,000 guns per 100,000 population).

            For example, Norway has the highest rate of gun ownership in Western Europe, yet possesses the lowest murder rate. In contrast, Holland’s murder rate is nearly the worst, despite having the lowest gun ownership rate in Western Europe. Sweden and Denmark are two more examples of nations with high murder rates but few guns. As the study’s authors write in the report:

            If the mantra “more guns equal more death and fewer guns equal less death” were true, broad cross-national comparisons should show that nations with higher gun ownership per capita consistently have more death. Nations with higher gun ownership rates, however, do not have higher murder or suicide rates than those with lower gun ownership. Indeed many high gun ownership nations have much lower murder rates. (p. 661)

            Finally, and as if to prove the bumper sticker correct – that “gun don’t kill people, people do” – the study also shows that Russia’s murder rate is four times higher than the U.S. and more than 20 times higher than Norway. This, in a country that practically eradicated private gun ownership over the course of decades of totalitarian rule and police state methods of suppression. Needless to say, very few Russian murders involve guns.

            The important thing to keep in mind is not the rate of deaths by gun – a statistic that anti-gun advocates are quick to recite – but the overall murder rate, regardless of means. The criminologists explain:

            [P]er capita murder overall is only half as frequent in the United States as in several other nations where gun murder is rarer, but murder by strangling, stabbing, or beating is much more frequent. (p. 663 – emphases in original)

            clowns like poo bear keep making up facts.

            canadians own a LOT of guns.

            sweden, norway, france, canada, germany, austria, iceland, and switzerland are all in the top 10% of nations by per capital gun ownership.

            yet none have high murder rates.

            the US is a weird outlier in this respect, perhaps owing to just how dramatically our gun laws vary on a county by county level (and how correlated restrictive laws are in the us with higher gun crime).

            everyone in my town owns guns, and not just little ones. most of us have concealed carry permits as well. you could arm a mid sized guerrilla insurgency just with my neighborhood. i’d bet that just in the 5 houses right around me we have 50-60 guns including lots of “assault weapons”.

            what we do not have is ANY CRIME AT ALL. not a break in, an assault, a robbery, a murder, nada.

            you can leave your car in the driveway with a bike on the unlocked rack on the roof.

            somehow, all these weapons (probably 6-10X the us average in per capita ownership) are not resulting on any crime.

            in fact, it’s generally considered to be an incredibly bad idea to break into a house here. you WILL get shot. so no one does.

            this is what many of us refer to as “common sense”.

            you should look into it robbie.

            it seems to be conspicuously absent from your ramblings.

          • further, these notions of “3x the murder rate” are not nearly the big deal you make them out to be as ALL the numbers are very, very small.

            the us has 4.4 per 100k.

            norway has 2.2.

            OK, that’s half the murder rate, but we are also talking about 2.2 per 100k, which is a 0.0022% effect on the population.

            these are VERY small numbers.

            if one had a 0.000022% chance of death vs a 0.000044% chance, it would not alter your behavior in any meaningful way.

            neither one is a high risk.

            to put this in perspective, the chance of dying in a car accident is 1 in 6700. that is .015%, 340 times the chance you will be murdered in the US and 680X the difference in the US and norwegian murder rates.

            saying “2 x the chance” makes it sound like a big deal, and if the increase was from 25% to 50%, it would be, but an increase from such low levels is barely meaningful.

            if i told you that because you could lose 0.002 of a pound this month instead of 0.001 so my diet is TWICE AS EFFECTIVE, you’d still say it was a crappy diet. and you’d be right.

            the risk of death from playing football is equivalent to the entire gap in rate from the us and norway.

            you doe not appear to have any grasp on how statistics work poo bear.

            you try to use %’s to make them sound ominous and equal, but these are TINY differences.

            the risk per year of simply hiking in the mountains DWARFS these differences, yet we do not see it as unduly hazardous.

            but by all means, keep yapping as though you have a point. you are just making yourself look more and more innumerate.

          • Sadly it’s time to teach right wingers remedial English.

            Death in a football game? Accident
            Death in a car accident? Accident
            Death in hiking? Accident

            Death by gunshot? MURDER

            I CHOOSE to drive a car, play football, or go hiking

            I do NOT choose to be murdered. That’s a form of slavery since it denies me my rights. But the right seems to think slavery is OK

            There’s a reason we call ‘accidents’ accidents, and we call murder ‘murder’.

          • more facts that demolish the puharic fallacies:


            urban areas in the us has 1.9X as many gun homicides as rural.

            yet rural areas have far fewer gun laws and many cities make it very difficult to own and damn near impossible to carry a gun.

            where i live, everyone has guns. in SF or NYC or chicago, no way. almost no one owns them, you cannot sell them, shoot them, and certainly cannot carry them.

            the variance in the us gun crime rate all comes from the cities.

            the rural areas where guns are common are as safe as or safer than norway.

            thus, when one pulls apart the aggregate, it’s readily clear that the murder problem in the US comes from precisely the places where ownership is low and carry impossible. to claim us murders are caused by high gun ownership is just flat out bad use of data. look at it with any granularity and it shows just the opposite.

          • I am a very avid gun owner and reloader myself, but I think you have to use population density in your analysis. I can accidentally discharge my firearm on my property and not hit anyone, but I doubt I could do the same in Times Square. Partly why people are shot in cities is because that’s where the people are. It’s the same reason I fish lakes where I know there are fish.

          • Perhaps your solution is to depopulate the US. Interesting solution

            80% of Americans live in urban areas. So the right wing solution to return us to the farm is, like all right wing solutions, simply insane

            The facts stand. The UK has 1/90th our gun murder rate.

          • walt-

            ” Partly why people are shot in cities is because that’s where the people are.”

            which is why the stats are compared on a per 100k people basis.

            this takes that issue out.

            as for accidental discharge, i doubt very much that is a meaningful part of the stat variance. that sort of thing tends to happen in the home and would not show up in murder stats anyhow.

          • “which is why the stats are compared on a per 100k people basis”

            I’m talking about density per area. 100k people in one city block is not the same as 100K people in 20 counties out West. I think crime will naturally be more prevalent where people are packed together even controlling for everything else (hence my accidentally hit someone statement).

          • Walt

            I am a very avid gun owner and reloader myself, but I think you have to use population density in your analysis. I can accidentally discharge my firearm on my property and not hit anyone, but I doubt I could do the same in Times Square.

            I understand your point, and agree, but if you are an avid gun owner I would bet you have never discharged a firearm accidentally.

            Partly why people are shot in cities is because that’s where the people are. It’s the same reason I fish lakes where I know there are fish.

            Indeed. And that’s why those who wants to shoot people unmolested, go to gun free zones like schools.

          • “I understand your point, and agree, but if you are an avid gun owner I would bet you have never discharged a firearm accidentally.”

            No, I haven’t, and I want to take back my “accidentally” remark. I was using it to make another point about population density. I teach and preach firearm safety. Firearms almost never are discharged accidentally. Someone squeezes the trigger, and the firearm discharges by design. A mistake, carelessness, or negligence is not an accident.

            We are on the same page about gun-free zones, Ron.

          • Walt

            I can accidentally discharge my firearm on my property and not hit anyone, but I doubt I could do the same in Times Square.

            So if you’re going to discharge a firearm accidentally, make sure you do it on your property and not in Times Square.

          • No accidents either place–just more people in Times Square. More people + smaller area = more problems

          • ” I think crime will naturally be more prevalent where people are packed together even controlling for everything else (hence my accidentally hit someone statement).”

            and again, i think you are making a bad assumption.

            in a city, there is always someone around to see you as well. lots of crimes are only easy if people are NOT around.

            this “accidental hit” notion is largely fanciful. it’s simply not a big part of any of the stats, and accidents do not fall under murder. further, far more people get shot hunting than by stray urban bullets.

            i do not think there is any real data to support what you are saying.

          • “i do not think there is any real data to support what you are saying.”

            Sure there is, just add up the population from any sparsely populated area and compare that to the population of any random densely populated area. Repeat a few times and compare crime rates making sure you don’t pick areas that are predominantly one race unless you pick many random samples (don’t compare Detroit to 100 white counties out West). The data are probably already out there for this in some crime database.

          • The UK and USA class “violent crime” differently.

            The USA/FBI only includes 4 very specific crimes:

            1 murder and nonnegligent manslaughter
            2 forcible rape,
            3 robbery
            4 aggravated assault.

            THATS IT.

            The UK Home Office includes all “crimes against the person,” including simple assaults, all robberies, and all “sexual offenses,” as opposed to the FBI, which only counts aggravated assaults and “forcible rapes.

            But of the 871,000 crimes against the person, less than half (401,000) involved any actual injury. The remainder were mostly crimes like simple assault without injury, harassment, “possession of an article with a blade or point,” and causing “public fear, alarm, or distress.” And of the 54,000 sexual offenses, only a quarter (15,000) were rapes. This makes it abundantly clear that the naive comparison of crime rates either wildly overstates the amount of violence in the UK or wildly understates it in the US.

        • Hmm and then there is Switzerland where every household has a gun and the gun death rate is extremely low as well.

          Also you should consider total death rate. Like, without a gun, teens tie a baby down to the railroad track – folks will always find ways to kill other people.

          • Actually Switzerland has one of the highest murder rates in western Europe. And there is no ‘right’ to have a gun. Gun owners are trained, unlike in the US

            So there’s no comparison except for the fact that more guns mean more murder

          • Switzerland’s murder rate is 0.7 per 100,000, according to UNODC. That makes it the 3rd lowest in Western Europe, behind only Austria and Iceland.

            Seriously, do you just make this stuff up?

          • Ah, changing the topic. Classic.

            Why did you say “murder rate” if you meant “gun-related murder rate?”

            Why did you say “more guns equal more deaths,” when, even by this data, it doesn’t show that (in fact, there is very little correlation between gun ownership and homicides).

            You gotta be specific (although, your comment is still wrong. Luxembourg and Greece still have higher rates).

            Typical: move the goal posts until you get something right.

          • Hmm…guess you think guns can’t be used in murder, which was the topic. And I pointed out Serbia has the 2nd highest gun ownership rate in the world. It has a higher murder rate than Switzerland or Finland.

            And the US has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world…along with the highest murder rate in the developed world

            So your statement that there’s no correlation is wrong.

            And Luxembourgh? A city state so small even ONE murder skews the murder rate?

            So every point you made is wrong.

          • You’re cute when you think you’re being clever.

            guess you think guns can’t be used in murder, which was the topic.

            So now we’re back to talking about the murder rate, in which case you’re wrong about Switzerland. Pick a topic and stick to it, boy.

            And I pointed out Serbia has the 2nd highest gun ownership rate in the world. It has a higher murder rate than Switzerland or Finland.

            But lower than UK, Ireland, Canada, and a host of other countries. When you cherry pick, you can claim correlation. However, when you look at all data (which, as an analyst, I do), you cannot claim correlation.

            And Luxembourgh? A city state so small even ONE murder skews the murder rate?

            You’re the one making the claim. If you wanted to exclude LUX, you should have said so.

            Whomp whomp.

            I guess all you can do is fudge data? The nice thing about being correct is I don;t need to worry about stuff like that.

            But hey, keep commenting. You’re only helping me

          • Hmmm…pick a topic and stick to it?

            The right says guns lower the murder rate. Proof?

            Well…none. None at all. The US has the most guns in the world. And the highest murder rate in the developed world. If guns stopped murder we’d have the LOWEST rate not the HIGHEST rate.

            The right’s response? Uh…ahem…kick the can down the road…move the goal posts…special pleading.

            How do they explain this failure? They don’t. Serbia has one of the highest murder rates in Europe. And it has the 2nd most guns. Again, if guns stopped murder, where’s the proof?

            In fact, Finland and Switzerland BOTH have higher than average gun possession rates. AND they have higher than average gun related murder rates. Britain BANNED handguns and has 1/90th the gun related murder rate

            So where’s the proof guns stop murder? The right can’t answer. SO they obfuscate. Hem and haw. Change the subject. Do anything but answer the question

            He says a city state is comparable to an entire continent. That’s EXACTLY what I mean when I say the right plays a shell game with the facts

            Proof that guns stop crime? None. What they DO do is make murder easy. And that’s what the evidence shows.

          • Not every household in Switzerland has a gun since not every household in America does and our ownership far exceeds theirs.

            And if people would find another way to kill, why is our murder rate so high and others’ murder rate so low? There should be no difference at all, if the assertion was correct.

        • And it’s not just the UK:

          In 2002 — five years after enacting its gun ban — the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime. In fact, the percent of murders committed with a firearm was the highest it had ever been in 2006 (16.3 percent), says the D.C. Examiner.

          Even Australia’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research acknowledges that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime

          Overall, Australia’s violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.
          At the same time, U.S. violent crime decreased 31.8 percent: rape dropped 19.2 percent; robbery decreased 33.2 percent; aggravated assault dropped 32.2 percent.
          Australian women are now raped over three times as often as American women. — AUSTRALIA: MORE VIOLENT CRIME DESPITE GUN BAN – NCPA

          • <i.In 2002 — five years after enacting its gun ban — the Australian Bureau of Criminology acknowledged there is no correlation between gun control and the use of firearms in violent crime.

            There are multiple studies confirming this as well.

            The reason for it is simple: most crimes are crimes of opportunity, not premeditated.

          • The ‘instrumentality effect’ guarantees that violent crimes committed with guns will be more deadly than those committed with other weapons.

          • As an aside, I once looked at the gun control laws in the various 50 states and compared it to crime rates using data from The Bradley Center. There was zero correlation between gun laws and crime rates. I’ll see if I can dig it up so I can give you actual numbers

          • Tell you what.

            You go try to convince ANYONE that Honduras is a ‘developed’ country

            We’ll wait.

        • Your statistics are wrong. Additionally, if you ban guns, then the strong dominate the weak. Why do you hate the weak? Guns are the only opportunity for the average person to defend themselves against larger and stronger attackers. Shouldn’t women have the tools to defend themselves, or should they just get used to the idea of being raped if they go out without a male for protection?

          • “If you HAVE to have a gun to defend yourself you’re not free; you’re living in a 3rd world country”

            Or you might just be living in a district where Obama carried >90% of the vote.

          • And yet the crime rate under Obama is lower than under the conservative administration that preceded him…

          • And yet the crime rate under Obama is lower than under the conservative administration that preceded him

            so what? That doesn’t change anything. The most violent areas are overwhelmingly Obama voting hell holes. Liberalism is a disease that has laid to waste some of our greatest cities.

        • Drop in crime correlates to several factors. Legalized abortion (unwanted children tend to become criminals so legalized abortion means more criminals are never born), higher incarceration rates (criminals who are locked up can’t commit crimes) and gun ownership rates (crime becomes more “expensive” to criminals when all the targets are hardened).

          In the US, 51% of all murders are committed by the 13% of the population that is black. The UK black population is 3.3%. American black cultural differences account for a very large percentage of the murder rate.

          In addition, the UK has a much higher overall crime rate than the US. Brits are essentially prohibited from defending themselves against criminals. That’s why the “hot” burglary rate (burglary of occupied homes) is so much higher in the UK. In Britain, there’s relatively little risk to the criminal. In America, the criminal risks being shot.

          In America, when a thug attacks a person (ala Trayvon Martin) a person may defend themselves with force – including deadly force. In Britain, the victim is sent to prison (as in the Tony Martin case). There’s more violence in America because people are allowed to fight back. In Britain, they simply raise up their arses and bleat, “May I have another, sir?”

          • So abortion reduces the number of criminals born and that is a great thing? Do you have any proof of this? I have known many couples that have had accidental kids and are happily raising them.

            Wow – justbwoe – I bet you are one of those who believe abortions are fantastic because they get rid of those black babies as well.

          • marque2: >>So abortion reduces the number of criminals born and that is a great thing? Do you have any proof of this?


            >> I have known many couples that have had accidental kids and are happily raising them.

            I’m sure you have. How many of them were in crushing poverty? How many of them had to give up meals to feed their kid? How many of them HAD a kid JUST to get government benefits?

            The thesis is basically that people who have unwanted kids – and continue to not want them even after they’re born – are a prime breeding ground for kids who (surprise!) feel unwanted. This is a soul killer. It’s no surprise that a kid who grew up abuses, unwanted, neglected, impoverished, ignore, used – might tend towards criminality. At least it’s no surprise to me. Maybe you still need to buy a clue! ;-)

        • For starters, if you eliminate all guns, you eliminate all gun-related crime. That’s tautological. But it doesn’t mean you eliminate, or even reduce, crime. Following G.B.’s gun ban, the gun-related crime rate actually went UP while the US rate (despite an increase in firearm ownership) went down. Australia and the UK have the distinction of being the most crime-ridden of all western civilizations – that according to the University of Leiden’s study on victimization rates. In the same study, the US didn’t even finish in the top 10.

          There’s a racial component to the US homicide rate – one the U.K. doesn’t have to deal with. 51% of all murders in America are committed by blacks – who comprise just 13% of the population. Hispanic criminal aliens account for another large block of murders – mostly in association with the drug trade. Ship those segments of our society to Britain, and Britain would see homicide rates to match their hot burglary rates (which, due to the fact that criminals need not fear home owners acting in self-defense is between 3 and 6 times the US rate).

          Note that Switzerland is a country with the second highest gun ownership rate – and they lack the racial groups that make the US so heavy in homicides. I daresay that Switzerland has a crime rate – in every category – that is lower than the UK rates.

          • I have the OECD figures for crime in the UK. There has been NO rise in over 2 decades, INCLUDING the time before and AFTER the gun ban. Crimes which, in the UK would have been violent, HERE become murder because of the ‘instrumentality effect’.

            There’s a reason soldiers use guns and not baseball bats. THe US, by flooding our society with guns, has made violent crime into MURDER with easy access to guns. Murder is ALSO a violent crime and our MURDER rate is 400% higher than the UK

            And it’s tiresome to read the right’s cavalier racism. And that’s what it is. The fact is, according to the Economist, US whites shoot each other 21X more than UK whites do. So WHITE PEOPLE are violent. In fact US WHITES shoot each other 8X more than inner city UK blacks shoot each other. By the way, Switzerland has a gun related homicide rate TEN TIMES that of the UK

            The fact is, it’s the GUNS. Our 2nd amendment allows us to have a level of gun use unparalleled in modern societies. We somehow feel that guns create virtue. Everyone who has a gun becomes automatically wise in their use, temperate in challenging situations, etc. None of which is logical.

            Guns are the problem. Until we get control of guns we will never have control of our murder rate. Guns control us. We don’t control guns.

          • There was a slight bump but it did decrease in the UK and to be honest expecting a immediate result is poorly thought out.

            It is not a racial component it is a poverty component.

            More hot burglaries are not such a big deal if they are in a country where you have a minute chance of being shot and killed my the burglar.

            However in a country where there are fewer but the burglar is armed you have a vastly higher chance of being shot and killed.

            Once you correct for how each country defines certain crimes the result is this:

            robbery and knife crime being more likely in the UK by an order of 1.1x and 1.27x respectively).

            a number of other, more serious offenses, are both marginally and substantially higher in the US.

            Rape of a female is 1.02x more likely in the US,

            while theft of a vehicle is 1.29x more likely.

            More disturbingly, burglary is significantly higher at 1.52x more likely to occur in the US.

            However, it is at the considerably more, well, violent crimes that America really supersedes England and Wales into its own class.

            In the United States, you are 6.9x more likely to be the victim of aggravated assault resulting in serious injury than in the UK.

            You are 4.03x more likely to be murdered than in the UK.

            And more staggeringly (though not surprising) you are 35.2x more likely to be shot dead in the Unites States than in the UK.

        • When 13% of the population commits 51% of all homicides, the problem isn’t with the society at large – it’s with that segment that’s out-of-control. And no, it’s not politically correct to point out that they’re black – but that’s the fact.

    • Something else, despite the fact that crime is lower, parents are more and more protective of their kids, is another Butterfield. Though I do think parents are overprotective of kids, crimes against kids have probably gone down because of the hovering parent effect.

      • Perhaps they simply want concealed and carry permits.

        Yes. It’s nice to know you can carry your concealed weapon in public, as you’ve always done, without being arrested.

        • also note:

          having a CCP is a big convenience issue AND it saves money.

          if you have a valid CCP, you do not need to do a background check (and pay for it) when you buy guns. it also lets you walk on to most gun ranges who will, if they do not know you, often require a safety class or a test.

          to get a CCP, you have already done those things.

          they just make life easier, even if you do not plan to carry a weapon day to day.

    • From the unknown one‘s Seattle Times link: ‘Arkadi Gerney, senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress think tank, said concealed permits have ballooned nationwide because they are easier to get, thanks to new technologies and fewer pre-requirements such as training‘…

      LMAO! Left leaning?!?! CAP is so left learning they did a face plant…

      Apparently CAP refuses to reality…

      People are buying more weapons today because many in the news media, government, and polices forces refuse to acknowledge that polar bear hunting is a growth industry

    • @The Unknown One – your datum doesn’t even remotely support your conclusion. First of all, it could be people arming themselves that is causing the drop. Second, it could be that people are not aware of the drop — perhaps in their neighborhood they aren’t seeing it. Third, there are motives beyond crime to consider….

      This one post generated a LOT of comments – most of the potentially substantive ones suffer from serious confusions about statistics and probability, and/or suffer from post-hoc fallacy.

      For example, someone mentioned (and I don’t even bother to fact-check because it is irrelevant to my point) that UK has 1/90th of the gun violence of the US. So what? 1/90th of a very small number is still a very small number.

      Another example, various folks say that there is no evidence that gun rights result in reduced … (whatever: violent crimes, gun violence, crimes in general, doesn’t matter), or they say that the evidence indicates otherwise. Umm, if I could show you evidence that 2+2=5, would you believe that evidence? It is a logically inescapable conclusion that, given two potential targets, a would-be criminal is going to pick the unarmed target if he can; furthermore, it is logically inescapable that I have a better chance of avoiding being the victim of a violent crime if I am armed with a firearm, than if I am not. You can show all the statistics you want, and it doesn’t change that fact. Your flaw there is a confusion between case probability and class probability, and a poor grasp of logic. Evidence does not overrule logic. 2+2!=5, no matter how much evidence you can find to the contrary.

      Finally, folks point at lower rates of (something – doesn’t really matter what) in gun-prohibited nations, compared to the US, as if it is the gun prohibition that makes the statistics what they are. That’s post-hoc fallacy (i.e. just because A happened before B does not mean that A caused B).

      But all of that is irrelevant, really. The fact is that I have a _right_ to arm myself in order to defend against threats to my life, liberty, and property, and the only way that you’re going to violate my right to arm myself is by making yourself into a hypocrite and arming yourself, or (even worse) arming a proxy agent, and using violent action or threats of violent action to coerce me to disarm. That is, the gun control position is an inherently logically incoherent one — one does not get rid of gun violence by using guns to get rid of gun violence. The reality is that the gun-controllers have no problem with gun violence, as long as it is done by state agents in pursuit of state goals. None-the-less, I generally give them the benefit of the doubt, and I happen to think that they have that perspective because they are either blissfully ignorant of the vile, brutal quality and quantity of what states do with their monopoly on the use of violence, or they are conditioned by state propaganda to believe it is “necessary,” and/or virtually always “for the children” (or whatever other platitude they choose to believe in).

      Finally, getting more on topic of this article, I’d like to echo someone else’s comments that while the article cites statistics about the drop in crime, it doesn’t actually cite statistics of increased violence by law enforcement. It would be nice if it did. However, one could argue that it isn’t just the number of events, but the severity and brutality of events that measures the increased violence by law enforcement, and I think the citation of the recent attempted baby-killing by some GA sheriffs deputies is evidence of that. I live near the county where that happened — the sheriff believes that it was all necessary, unavoidable, and justified, in the name of the drug bust they were attempting to carry out. I’m sorry, but that is disgusting — that sheriff is far more morally depraved than anyone in the house that they raided. (and this, personally, makes me want to go out and get my CCP… going full circle, maybe it is the increase in state violence that is the impetus for the increase in CCP rates)

      • I was the one who mentioned the 1/90th figure, from Wikipedia. And it is relevant since the right generally argues more guns mean less crime.

        It’s ironic to see someone admit countries with low rates of gun ownership have low rates of gun murder THEN say we can’t learn anything about gun ownership from this since ownership is so low!

        In America, situations that would be violent in other countries become murder here, because of guns. It even has a name…the ‘instrumentality effect’.

        So the right keeps trying to make ‘logical’ arguments while filtering out facts that show these arguments are just wrong.

        The fact is you DO have a right to be armed in America. The fact is this is related to HIGHER, not LOWER murder rates

        Your assertion is testable. If guns stopped murder, America, the most heavily armed nation on earth, would have the LOWEST murder rate in the developed world

        We don’t. We have the HIGHEST. Not the 10th. or the 20th. Or the 5th.

        We have the highest. So your assertion that guns prevent violence has been tested

        It’s dead wrong….so to speak.

        And no well armed populace can stop a modern well trained army.

        If you think Afghanistan proves me wrong, by all means, let me know.

        • More guns means less crime – all other things being equal.

          If I pile up a million guns at the South Pole and put 100 gunsin the hands of a gang member in Chicago, which will have more gun-related crime? And if the circumstances are reversed? But wait! The high crime rate didn’t follow the guns! The high crime rate stayed in Chicago! So people who argue U.K. v. U.S. crime rates as raw numbers don’t see any difference between Chicago and the South Pole.

          Now, within the United States, John Lott has done a detailed analysis of all 3000+ counties, over a period of decades, observing the effect of gun control laws as they were tightened or loosened. His conclusion: More Guns, Less Crime.

          I’ve already mentioned that over half of all US homicides are committed by blacks. But here’s another factoid about America – we don’t tolerate criminals as well as the pansies in the U.K. I will state for a fact that if someone breaks into my home and I have the opportunity to shoot them – I will. There are two reasons for this: 1) I have no idea what they are doing in my home. I do not know if they intend me harm. They have no business in my home, so if they assume the risk they can reap the result. 2) As a public service, I will happily remove a POS from society. Whether they intended to kill me, rob me, or were just out to screw up my home – they won’t do it to me again, and they won’t do it to anyone else either. I save the taxpayers a ton of money and I save future potential victims a load of grief. In America, criminals run this risk. It’s part of what makes America… America.

  2. “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is a force, like fire; a dangerous servant and a terrible master.” — George Washington

    The militarization of the domestic police forces is an obscenity in a free society. This is something that we should all be able to agree on.

    • AR-15s? How many people were killed last year by an AR-15? The FBI says 348 out of a total of 13.636 were killed by any type rifle. 1.825 were by knives, 611 by 611 by blunt objects and 801 by fists!
      The black murder rate in the US is 14.82, the white rate is 2.17 which puts us in shooting range of Norway and Finland.
      It looks like the big murder problems in America are the big cities that have been ruled by Democrat politicians for the last 75 years.

      • Irrelevant question. We’re talking police. That’s the subject. And cops have to arm themselves against the heaviest arms they’re likely to face. Would you like your local cop to go up against an AR15 armed suspect armed with a .38 revolver?

        And 6 of the 10 most violent states are southern, conservative ones. Ane one of the top 10 is my home state of PA with its fanatical gun owners. It’s conservatives who can’t run states OR cities OR nations.

        • Psychotic once again being slippery with the facts. The most violent areas in the south are where Democrats are the overwhelming majority. It isn’t “right wing NRA members” committing the mayhem.

          For example, perhaps Psychotic remembers our hilarious (to me) discussion about “conservative” New Orleans (perennial murder capital contender) where Obama carried 80% of the vote in 2012.

          • Since Democrats run cities where the murder rate is LOW but the GOP runs states where the murder rate is high it’s obvious that right wing state policies lead to cities with high murder rates. That’s what the evidence shows. Obama also carried Boston, NY and SF which have some of the lowest murder rates in the country

            It’s conservative states, not democratic cities, that are violent.

          • That’s the dumbest leap in logic I’ve yet seen you post, and that’s saying something. You provide no mechanism to show how, say, Bobby Jindal’s policies lead to the mayhem of Obama voters in New Orleans. Nor does your idiotic theory explain the safe cities run by conservatives. Not all cities run by liberals are violent,I readily concede. But the violent ones, whether in the north or south, overwhelmingly are big D. It depends on the demographic.

          • That’s the most bizarre claim I’ve seen you make yet. You have posted NO references or proof that the Democratic liberal policies of places like NY, SF or Boston lead to high crime rates.

            Because they don’t. If liberalism led to high crime, those cities, the most liberal in the nation, would have high crime rates.

            Instead it’s southern, conservative states that have high violence, high crime, high teen pregnancy, high poverty.

          • Like I said, it depends on the demographics. What we know for sure is most violent crime is committed by Democrat constituents. Blacks, for example, are 13% of the pop but commit more than half of all homicides. They vote > 90% for Democrats.

            Hence the persistent efforts of Democrats to give felons the right to vote.

        • Well I guess there’s no surprise that the puharic would make an erroneous statement confusing conservatives with Republicans…

          Now if one wanted to play that silly game one could easily point out that America’s Most Dangerous Cities Are Run By Democrats

          When one considers the States With the Most Gun Violence eight of the ten states listed have a Republican governor now but the one stat all ten states had in common was a poverty rate of 10% or more…

          I would guess that poverty would also be the common thread of the ten most dangerous cities too..

      • Rick

        AR-15s? How many people were killed last year by an AR-15? The FBI says 348 out of a total of 13.636 were killed by any type rifle.

        Indeed. Not many. More people die by getting tangled in their bedsheets, but sheet control laws might be hard to enforce, and are especially hard to discuss after a few witty jokes have everyone laughing about the subject.

        It’s not clear what the big whoop is about the AR-15. It is a civilian version of the popular M4 that most police officers carry in their cars, and is not by any stretch an “assault weapon”. It’s semi automatic like most other commonly available long guns as well as handguns- one shot per trigger pull.

      • US ‘whites only’ murder rate: 2.6

        Denamark 1.0
        Ireland 1.2
        Norway 0.8
        Sweden 0.9
        Greece 1.4
        Italy 1.4
        Spain 1.2
        Austria 0.8
        France 1.7
        Germany 1.2
        Switzerland 1.0

    • Agreed.

      I’d also argue it’s insanity.


      Here in Concord NH, we got a bearcat from the Federal Government (despite the fact that literally the only person who wanted it was the Chief of Police). The reasoning? Following the Boston Marathon bombings last year, every city must be prepared to defend itself.

      For Concord, this doesn’t make sense:

      1) We aren’t even the largest city in New Hampshire. We’re just the capital (we’re 3rd largest, behind Manchester and Nashua).

      2) Terrorists aren’t aiming at New Hampshire. We have more cows than anything else. Seriously, the whole state could be abducted by aliens and no one would notice.

      • When your chief has the Bearcat, he will scare anyone who plans to make a bomb out of a pressure cooker (Boston) or with fertilizer (Oklahoma City).

        Seriously, I would look into whether your Police Chief got a kickback from Lenco, the makers of the Bearcats. I can’t imagine Concord needing such a vehicle. Even Los Angeles hardly ever uses theirs.

        Much of national security-homeland security spending is, of course, mere lard. Sadly, Concord taxpayers will probably have to pay for the upkeep of that monstrosity….

        • I suspect it’s more a budget issue. With the bearcat, he could argue for a larger police budget from the town.

      • It’s a typical government boondoggle. Fed money is available to Concord (cong-cud ?) for our noble war on terrorism. You must spend it on something, no matter how ridiculous, or you don’t get it at all.

        And if you have a Bearcat, you certainly need a SWAT team to ride in it. And if you have a SWAT team, you will need…actually the process is well documented in this interesting study by Laura Numeroff.

        • Budgets set priority, and budgeted money will all be spent. It’s part of the process. Try telling your kid that you really want him to have an ice cream but do not give him the money to do so or tell him if he does not spend his money on ice cream you are taking the money back.

          Yes, there can be a lot of waste, but you can tell if something you asked for is just being paid lip service if something you are promised next year does not show up in next year’s budget. Always ask to see the money and call ‘em on it if it’s not there (arrogant people don’t think you will do that).

          I’ve never seen our Police Department’s armored vehicle moved much less used, and it is on the next street over from mine, so I see it almost every day.

          • I’ve never seen our Police Department’s armored vehicle moved much less used, and it is on the next street over from mine, so I see it almost every day.

            Go over and chalk-mark a tire as if you were parking enforcement. Then you could easily tell if it has moved.

          • No chalk. Don’t want to mess with my police friends. They came and got me at home and stood by my side to see if my wife was going to be alive after the fire department got her out of the car: Great guys!!! She’s still with me and back to 95%, and we are celebrating our 31st wedding annivesary today. Hey, why I am talking to you guys.

          • Walt

            She’s still with me and back to 95%, and we are celebrating our 31st wedding annivesary today.

            That’s good news, and congrats.

            Hey, why I am talking to you guys.

            Yeah, really!

    • The militarization of the domestic police forces is an obscenity in a free society“…

      Amen che

      You might find the following interesting: Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog: Eric Holder Announces Task Force to Focus on “Domestic Terrorists”
      It’s been obvious for quite some time that the so-called “war on terror” is nothing more than a fear-mongering induced power grab; a convenient excuse to strip the citizenry of its civil liberties and humanity. Many commentators, including myself, have predicted for years that the entire counter-terror juggernaut that has been constructed post-9/11 would be ultimately redirected upon the domestic population‘…

      Nothing says power grab like an up armored APC and crewed by the local constabulary packing modern M-4s…

      • I think the War on Terror started with good intentions bit quickly got out of hand and became an authoritarian power grab.

          • juandos

            So ron h was the war terror started for ‘bad intentions‘?

            Or mere political intentions?

            Or something else entirely?”

            Answer b: mere political intentions.

            “You never let a serious crisis go to waste.” That bit of good advice didn’t originate with Rahm Emanuel.

            Speaking of intentions what do you think Obama/Holder’s intentions are here?

            That’s an easy one. The goal is to increase government power, pure & simple. “Anti government animus”? That puts me and many other commenters here at CD in the spotlight.

            It’s not going to end well for the American people.

          • Paul, you don’t have time to rest on your laurels as worst HTMLer at CD. It should be apparent that I’m actively seeking your crown.

  3. Where is the evidence of an “epidemic of police violence and SWAT raids?” You provide statistical evidence of declining violent crime, but only anecdotal evidence of increased police violence. Perhaps we are simply more aware of police violence because of the increased publicity from blogs.

    I don’t believe this is the case, because Radley Balko has pointed out stats elsewhere showing the number of SWAT raids is up a lot over the last decade, but without citing or charting such stats, you weaken your case.

  4. Kudos to Dr. Perry for this post. And “no knock” raids—if a resident responds to a no-knock raid with gunfire, who is to blame?
    BTW, this is half yhe picture. The information collecting of national security agencies includes millions of license plates, facial images, emails and phone calls every day.
    We were far freer at the height of the Cold War when we actually had a real enemy…

  5. Is there a chart that shows the corresponding injuries and deaths from police raids since 1994 to go with the chart above? I’m all for decriminalizing marijuana, but I stay away from my former friends who live and die in the illegal drug culture (I don’t think any of them will die of old age, and they rip off even their best friends and family).

    • Thank you, Walt. That was my first question as well. I suspect (from other reading) that there has been a significant rise in *unjustified* police violence, but there is no such indication here.

      • The fact there’s been a decline across the developed world is ignored by the right in their headlong rush to make America a prison camp.

          • This comment removed by a blog administrator for not meeting the minimum standards of adult, civilized discourse.

          • Perhaps those other nations have less Democrat voters committing violent crimes, Bobby Psychotic.

            And maybe your moronic comments wouldn’t be censored as much if you weren’t such a jackass to the blog host. I don’t always agree with Dr Perry, but I respect that this is his blog he takes the time to serve up for free. If you don’t like it, make everyone extremely happy and leave and don’t come back.

    • Uh no. Violent crime has been dropping across the western world. And the US locks up SO many of its citizens, to assert it’s a marginal increase in prison rates is risible

    • Another thing that happened was Giuliani hired Chief Bratton instituted major changes in the way New York city engaged in policing. They started a zero tolerance policy, believing that ignoring little crimes made criminals think big crimes were OK as well. There are some studies showing this to be true. They also instituted a system where Police weren’t tied to their precinct. They did analysis of where the crime existed, and moved more police in those areas (this is of course Racist). They also put in a police presence in areas of High crime, which also deterred criminals (125th street is a good example, what was once a place to avoid, turned into a great shopping street, just because the police are now on foot patrol). This caused NY crime to drop precipitously. The model was copied by many police departments nationwide, because it worked, and Bratton also became chief of LA and worked some (more limited) magic there as well.

      It wasn’t all 3 strikes – though 3 strikes did have a big effect as well.

  6. My what a very large room full of Leftist fascists, one can smell the stench even over the internet. Its either that or we have a bunch of Union blues defending their actions as just, when the reality is they themselves are law breakers with a free pass.

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