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by Peter Moskos

September 22, 2008

Florida Guns Increase Crime

OK you gun fans (and I know you're out there), explain this to me: I read in the paper today that licenses for concealed handguns have almost doubled in Florida since 2005. "Interesting." I thought. "I wonder what's happened to crime." So I checked. Murder, robbery, and burglary are all up.

Now I know this is a simplistic analysis. But could somebody tell me something else that happened in Florida except another 200,000 people walking around with guns that causes this increase in crime between 2006 and 2007? Criminals can get concealed gun permits, too.

Let's say crime went down, wouldn't gun nuts be shouting about how this proves guns equal safety? Well, now crime is up. Where's the clamor? (There are some good schools of criminal justice in Florida. I'd bet they're working on such reports right now.)

Remember, I'm not a huge fan of gun control (but purely for pragmatic reasons: I don't think gun control controls guns), but I do think guns equal crime. Florida seems to show this, no?

You can read the newspaper article (which interestingly does not talk at all about crime rates) and look at the crime stats here (it's a PDF file).

Florida crime trends over time (thanks to DJK). Looks like crime was going down until 2005.


DJK said...

I'm researching your answer... But, until I can give you something let's think about something. Crime statistics. I'm no statistician, in fact, I'm just a regular Joe. But, how are the stats skewed by how they are kept? I mean, If a cop shoots a kid under 21 (lawfully) it counts as a child death by gun, no? and do those crimes that were eventually averted by a victim with a gun still count as though the crime was committed? And if the victim shot and killed his attacker, is that a death by gun? And if that attacker was under 21, how is that counted?

I don't know...they're questions for you, being the Doc and all.

DJK said...


Can you post these charts from the same people that did your cited report?

DJK said...

By those charts/reports, it seems to me that crime has pretty much plummeted. You wouldn't think that the guy writing the paper you read was biased and maybe skewed the facts, do you?

DJK said...

Total Index Crime

Total Index Crime

Thassa BIG drop. I'm pretty sure the population went up quite a lot in 9 years.

DJK said...

OOOohhhh I see, your report only covers 12 months. Sheeit, the weather could affect crime in that small an amount of time. From 1996-2007 crime is down 31.3%.

So, he was being somewhat misleading. If you want to see the impact CCWs have had on crime you need to look back to before it went on the books. Let me know what you find. But, in 10 years...looking good....30% good.

BG said...

Too many variables....It would take longer to look at but I would imagine that demographics in Florida have changed a good bit. Foreclosures at an all time high. Economics drives crime faster than any other factor. I could see where you would need a much deeper analysis to prove that point.

DJK said...

Yes, until 2005...but the upswing is negligible. I would be willing to bet anything I own that the cause of the minor upswing has NOTHING to do with the rate of CCW applications/approvals. If you can show me that's what is the cause, I'll eat my hat.

PCM said...

Maybe. Maybe not. But the crime drop did stop just as another 200,000 gun permits were given out.

There's no way this can be "proven" one way or the other. But I guarantee that if crime dropped faster after 2005 and 200,000 concealed guns, we'd be hearing from the gun fans saying that guns were the reason.

It's certainly safe to say that 200,000 concealed gun permits didn't reduce violent crime.

PCM said...

With regards to your stat question, I don't have all the answers.

At a local level, if a crime is averted, it should still be counted as an "attempted (whatever)." But it would not make the chart for say, "armed robbery." Though it could be classified by the police as an agg assault and attempted robbery. The URC just takes the most serious offense for each incident.

These stats come from local police departments as reported to the FBI and compiled in the uniform crime reports (U.C.R.). These stats are not perfect but they're the best we've got.

As long as the errors are consistent from year to year (in stat language you also want the errors to be "random", though they rarely are), the errors don't matter so much for statistical analysis.

If a killing is in self defense (good guy shoots bad), there is a category in the U.C.R. for "justifiable homicide." These don't count in the homicide stats. Police shootings fall in this category, for instance.

Anonymous said...

If the extra 200,000 CWL holders killed some bad guys that were trying to do some bad guy stuff to the CWL holeder or the family of same this would be a good out come, no? Same as if the police killed a violent fellon to save a life. Both instances would result in the reported homicide rate going up. You see it is not murder that is reported, but rather homicides. No distinction is made between evil murder and the righteous use of defensive force. But the later is good for society. To hell with your uniform crime stats. I have a human right to life, and to the most efective tools to preserve it. Maybe you will feel better if you send more money to the Brady Campaign.

PCM said...

A distinction is made between evil murder and the righteous use of defensive force. Righteous use of force is NOT categorized as homicide in the crime stats. "Good" murders are justifiable homicides and are a separate category in "my" uniform crime stats. Self-defense is not homicide in the stats. So these homicides are all "bad" killings.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see these crime stats compared to a city like Los Angeles that has tighter gun control (almost no CCW permits are given out) over the same period of years.

Los Angeles has also experienced a drop in crime.

PshootR said...

Any cop who advocates for more gun control has already proven that he or she is in the wrong line of work and should resign. My Congressperson, Sandy Adams of Florida is a retired L.E.O. who is a strong supporter of H.R.822 and the Second Amendment and concealed carry.
H.R.822, the Interstate Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act is an example of common sense gun control at work.

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Unknown said...

In relation to your own stat query, We do not have all of the solutions.

In a nearby degree, if your criminal offense is actually prevented, it will be measured being an "attempted (what ever). inch However it wouldn't help to make the actual graph with regard to state, "armed thievery. inch Although it may be categorized through the law enforcement being an agg attack as well as tried thievery. The actual URC simply requires probably the most severe criminal offense for every event.

These types of statistics originate from nearby law enforcement sections because documented towards the FBI as well as put together within the standard criminal offense reviews (Ough. D. Ur. )#). These types of statistics aren't ideal however they are the very best we have.

So long as the actual mistakes tend to be constant through 12 months in order to 12 months (within stat vocabulary additionally you would like the actual mistakes to become "random", although these people hardly ever tend to be), the actual mistakes do not issue a lot with regard to record evaluation.

If your eliminating is within self-defense (great man tries for a takedown poor), there's a class within the Ough. D. Ur. with regard to "justifiable murder. inch These types of do not depend within the murder statistics. Law enforcement shootings drop with this class, for example.Commercial Investment Properties