Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Go figure

More guns, less crime--who knew? An unexpected benefit of the Obamasiah?

The link is to a blogger who is not a social scientist, just someone who really likes guns and doesn't like liberals. I am just guessing about that, inferring from the fact that she has filed the post under the tag "libtards". I am not sure I approve of the tag. For one thing it is an offensive play on words. For another, it is too inclusive to be useful as a filing name: it could be tagged on to anything the administration has done in the last year.

Still, it wouldn't surprise me if there were a causal relationship.

I wonder if the relationship holds if we look at the data by region and by type of crime? If I remember John Lott looked at shall issue permits and crime rates by county and found the relationship between concealed weapons and crime rates as strongly negative (i.e., more guns, less crime). Do the states with the highest gun sales have the greatest decreases in crime?

There were a couple of things that were strange if I remember. We should see the crime rates drop the most for the kinds of crimes that are deterred by citizens bearing arms, no? So some things, like drug use and sales should be unaffected. Other things, like stranger on stranger property crimes or any crime where the assailant fears encountering an armed victim, should show the largest drop, no? Do we see that in the data? Has anyone looked?


A news story in the Christian Science Monitor quotes a few experts. One thing that mitigates against the more guns as the cause of the decline is the fact that the decline in crime rates seems to be evenly distributed across places where people have easy access to guns (like Georgia) and places where they don't (like New York City).


Bobby Nations said...

Sorry to point back to another blog, but I answered your questions there.

Off the top of my head, John Lott showed that following passage of shall-issue laws, violent crime tended to decrease while property crimes tended to increase. The conclusion was that criminals switched targets because the probability of encountering armed victims had increased.

The book is not terribly long, and though filled with charts and graphs is a pretty easy read.

Michael Reinhard said...

That sounds interesting. Your original post shows car theft going down as well. Is that usually considered a violent crime? And does the same relationship hold with property crime now? Has it behaved differently from violent crime?