Crime Prevention Research Center: 1% of counties account for 42% of homicides

Crime Prevention Research Center: 1% of counties account for 42% of homicides

Think about your community for a moment. Unless you just moved there, you know which areas are considered the rough part of town, where homicides seem to be the norm rather than the exception. You know to avoid those areas at night if possible and, if you’re reading here, you make sure you carry a gun with you when you can’t avoid them.


That area generally accounts for most of the violent crime in your city, and everyone knows it.

Well, it seems that plays out on a national level as well.

Homicide rates have spiked, but most of America has remained untouched.

Only a tiny fraction of U.S. counties account for nearly all of the country’s homicides, according to research released Tuesday that showed a striking concentration where killings take place.

The worst 31 counties — generally urban jurisdictions — have about a fifth of the country’s population but accounted for 42% of the country’s homicides in 2020, said John R. Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, which conducted the study.

The worst 5% of counties accounted for 73% of homicides. That ticked up slightly from 69% in 2014 and 70% in 2016.

Meanwhile, 52% of counties recorded no homicides in 2020, and another 16% recorded only a single killing.

“Murders are a problem in a very small percentage of the counties in the United States,” Mr. Lott told The Washington Times.

Even in those higher-homicide counties, the crime is still concentrated, he said.

Mr. Lott crunched the data for Los Angeles County and found that 10% of the county’s ZIP codes accounted for 41% of the homicides. Another 10% accounted for 26% more.

Now, this is an important fact to remember. It matters because when people start trying to push gun control, they’re seeking to impose restrictions on a region when the issue really only applies to a small percentage of land mass, be it on the state, local, or federal level.


What this also tells us is that the problems aren’t national at all. It’s hyperlocal. Homicides haven’t surged throughout the nation. They’ve surged in a small number of jurisdictions.

So why should we accept gun control for everyone because of what a small handful of people do?

Something else this tells us is that the problem isn’t access to guns. Per capita, guns are more common in rural counties than in the cities. If the number of guns per capita led to homicides, then we’d see a whole lot more murders outside of these counties than we currently do.

With that in mind, it seems clear that the answer to high violent crime rates should be something that focuses on these areas and not the nation as a whole. Why penalize an entire country because of the actions of a small handful of people?

Then again, gun control isn’t really a solution to violent crime in the first place. We all know that. It’s a control mechanism that some people think is a solution to things like violent crime.

But if it were, our “knife crime” rate wouldn’t be higher than other nations’ total homicide rate.

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