This person explains to me that rising gun ownership is actually making Detroit, my hometown, much safer:
Just look at Detroit recently gun ownership has gone up and crime has gone down. Not just a theory when there is evidence people
He’s right, you know. The violent crime rate in Detroit declined last year. And I guess it’s possible that gun ownership was responsible. Or perhaps there are a whole host of variables to consider, including the dramatic population decline.
But let’s get a wee bit of perspective on the situation in Detroit, shall we?
Make no mistake: Detroit is still a very dangerous place. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s crime database reports Detroit had 386 murders last year, up from 344 in 2011 and essentially unchanged from 2000 – when the city had 200,000 more residents. The steady outflow of residents has driven Detroit’s murder rate up to 54.6 per 100,000, more than 10 times the national average and the highest in the country among large cities. Equally troubled Stockton, Calif., fifth on this year’s Most Dangerous list, has less than half the murder rate of Detroit….
The violent crime rate for the Detroit MSA [metropolitan statistical area] is 574 per 100,000 population, 48% higher than the national average — and virtually all attributable to the area’s much more dangerous urban core. Only a handful of murders in the Detroit MSA were reported outside of Detroit itself.
Maybe Detroit just needs even more guns?
But even if this is true in Detroit, it does not “prove” that more guns equals less crime. Arguing from an anecdote (N=1) is very problematic, precisely because other factors could be the cause of the decline in crime.
In order to have confidence that “more guns equals less crime,” we would have to see one of two (or both) kinds of studies:
- Studies of Detroit (or some other area) over a long period of time to see if the rate of gun ownership correlates with the crime rate (that is, whether the two rates go up/down together). This would be “time-series” data.
- Studies of the relationship between crime and gun ownership for a large number of cases. This would be “cross-sectional” data.
You could also combine both types of studies (large number of cases over a long period of time). This would be “panel” data.
Politicalprof: WARNING! WARNING! Social science in progress.