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by Peter Moskos

January 7, 2016

2015 homicide increase

I'd like to double down on the 2015 homicide increase. I've made a habit of offering a $100 bet to anybody says "we don't know if homicides are up." What's odd is that nobody has taken my bet. Some insist that crime can't really be up till the data is formally compiled and tell us it is. That's an odd form of statistical oblivion. Others say that though homicide may be up, crime isn't. That's hard to believe. Still others think it's not a big deal, any one-year increase. I beg to differ.

I cannot be sure of the motives of the crime-increase deniers, but I suspect it gets to the ideology of "root causes" and the anti-police narrative built with great sweat, care, and tears over the past two years (a narrative built partly on lies). (Yesterday, Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell rather boldly wrote: "Until young activists put the same level of energy into fighting street violence as they put into fighting police violence, little will change."

The reason I'm doubling down is that a reporter showed me some data he compiled. I'm not going to get into the details and steal his thunder. Yeah murders are up in cities. But we knew that. We just don't know how much and what it means. Can we assume a nationwide trend based on just the biggest cities. Well, statistically and historically, yes, we can. (Looking at homicides in these cities versus the rest of the nation over many years, I get an r of .935 with sig < .001.)

As to absolute numbers, that's still anybody's guess. In 2014 there were 13,472 murders. In 2015 I think we'll see around 15,000 homicides. And that's if we're lucky.


Adam said...

From the Washington Post, about UCR data from the first half of 2015:

"Between January and June 2015, the number of murders was up 6.2 percent, with the biggest jumps seen in the country’s smallest and largest areas. Murders were up 17 percent in areas with fewer than 10,000 residents, while murders were up 12.4 percent in places with between half a million and a million residents and up 10.8 percent in places with more than 1 million residents."

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree that any increase of homicide rates over any amount of time is a big deal. If there is an increase in crime rate then that, in my opinion, would be a link to homicide rates in some sort of manner.