Inequality And Murder Rates

One of the standard acceptable explanations for high crime rates is “inequality.” 

The most realistic implication is that the poor are driven mad by the sight of the rich, and thus engage in crime. This is not wholly unreasonable, prima facie, yet it`s hard to think of persuasive American examples these days.

For instance, inequality has grown enormously in New York City since Wall Street turned up in 1982. Yet, crime is quite low in NYC these days. Perhaps, in contrast to the theory, rich people can afford to hire a lot of cops and private security, driving crime rates down for everybody?

In contrast, there are few rich people left in Detroit, but the number of murders there in 2012 is the highest since the crack year of 1994.

Here is the FBI`s table of murders per 100,000 in 2009 (city only, not metro area). At the top of the list, New Orleans and Washington DC have some rich people (maybe Oakland), but most of these murder capitals are pretty bereft of The One Percent these days.

The other popular theory is that heavily armed rednecks are murdering everybody, but there doesn`t seem to be much evidence for that idea in this table, either.

New Orleans, LO

52

St. Louis, MO

40

Detroit, MI

40

Baltimore, MD

37

Baton Rouge, LA

34

Newark, NJ

29

Birmingham, AL

29

Oakland, CA

26

Washington, DC

24

Buffalo, NY

22

Kansas City, MO

21

Memphis, TN

20

Philadelphia, PA

20

Cleveland, OH

19

Richmond, VA

19

Norfolk, VA

18

Tulsa, OK

18

Cincinnati, OH

16

Chicago, IL

16

Montgomery, AL

15

Atlanta, GA

14

Savannah-Chatham Metro, GA

14

Miami, FL

14

Rochester, NY

14

Nashville, TN

13

Dallas, TX

13

Houston, TX

13

Pittsburgh, PA

12

Jacksonville, FL

12

Indianapolis, IN

12

Orlando, FL

12

Milwaukee, WI

12

Oklahoma City, OK

12

Jersey City, NJ

12

Toledo, OH

11

Stockton, CA

11

Columbus, OH

11

Albuquerque, NM

11

Modesto, CA

10

Louisville Metro, KY

10

Mobile, AL 3

10

Akron, OH

10

Greensboro, NC

9

Durham, NC

9

Fresno, CA

9

Long Beach, CA

9

Bakersfield, CA

8

Los Angeles, CA

8

Las Vegas MPD, NV

8

Boston, MA

8

Phoenix, AZ

8

Laredo, TX

7

Charlotte-Mecklenburg, NC

7

Santa Ana, CA

7

North Las Vegas, NV

7

San Antonio, TX

7

Fort Wayne, IN

7

Glendale, AZ

7

Wichita, KS

7

Omaha, NE

7

Winston-Salem, NC

6

Tucson, AZ

6

Sacramento, CA

6

Fort Worth, TX

6

Aurora, CO

6

Lubbock, TX

6

Tampa, FL

6

Denver, CO

6

New York, NY

6

San Francisco, CA

6

Chesapeake, VA

5

Riverside, CA

5

Anchorage, AK

5

Minneapolis, MN 1

5

St. Paul, MN

5

St. Petersburg, FL

4

Lexington, KY

4

Virginia Beach, VA

4

Scottsdale, AZ

4

Corpus Christi, TX

4

Reno, NV

4

Yonkers, NY

4

Hialeah, FL

4

Colorado Springs, CO

4

Seattle, WA

4

Spokane, WA

3

Raleigh, NC

3

Portland, OR

3

Garland, TX

3

Arlington, TX

3

San Diego, CA

3

Mesa, AZ

3

San Jose, CA

3

Boise, ID

3

Austin, TX

3

Anaheim, CA

3

Irving, TX

2

Lincoln, NE

2

Chandler, AZ

2

El Paso, TX

2

Chula Vista, CA

2

Gilbert, AZ

2

Madison, WI

2

Honolulu, HI

2

Henderson, NV

2

Plano, TX

1

Irvine, CA

1

Fremont, CA

1