Monday, September 05, 2016

Crime in America

A few crime stories caught my eye on the weekend:

*  Anchorage, Alaska, with a population of about 300,000, has had 25 homicides this year, with 9 of them unsolved.  The unsolved ones seem to mostly be in parks and trails around the city.  

The article says that 25 was the total number of murders they had there in 2015, although going back to 1995, they had 29 in a year. 

Doesn't that seem high for a city of 300,000?    Looking at a story about Australia murder rates, yes it is:
According to the latest AIC figures, the homicide rate for the NT was 5.5 per 100,000 people. This is five times the national rate and almost four times the second highest state, Western Australia, which had a homicide rate of 1.4 per 100,000. examined 10 years of data from the institute’s National Homicide Monitoring Program and found the NT consistently had a higher rate for murder and manslaughter than anywhere else in Australia. In 2001-02, the NT’s rate was almost six times higher than the national average, 11.5 compared to 1.9. By 2011-12 it had improved significantly to 5.5, but was still higher than the rest of the country.

According to Matthew Willis, research officer from the AIC, the number of actual murders and manslaughters in the Northern Territory is far lower than bigger states such as NSW or Victoria, which both have larger populations. But when those numbers are calculated per (100,000) head of population, the statistics are staggering. Even when compared to smaller states such as Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, the NT is high. All those states sit around the 1 to 1.4 rate.
 So, even compared to recent figures in the Northern Territory, the Anchorage rate is high.   I wonder if they have alcohol problems, too?

 *  The Washington Post ran a lengthy article looking at the only known black lynching that took place on a military base in World War 2.   Never solved, it appears clear that people closed ranks, and it once again paints a picture of a black man killed for being too assertive (or perhaps, too friendly to white women.)   A depressing story, but worth remember the legacy that current black America carries in living memory.  

Vox's long article about the issue of whether "black culture" is responsible for violent crime in America is very good - and really, it covers more than just that theory - it looks at the whole matter of the uncertainty as to why violent crime has actually dropped dramatically over the last few decades. 

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