Crime trends, causes and cures: Do media crime statistics tell the WHOLE truth?

By Jim Irvine

American novelist/philosopher Mark Twain once wrote, "There are lies, damned lies and statistics." Even in his day, he recognized -- especially in media reporting -- that legitimate statistics are often presented in such a way to create an impression that can be far from the whole truth.

For example, last month the FBI released preliminary data indicating an increase in 2005 violent crime. The USA Today reports there is new evidence that crime has continued to rise this year.

From the article:

    A review of 55 cities' crime data from the first six months of this year indicates the overall number of homicides rose by 4.2% compared with the same period in 2005, according to the Police Executive Research Forum, a police advocacy group. In a report Thursday, the group also said robberies rose nearly 10% and that aggravated assaults were up slightly.

We have learned from past "research" by gun control advocates that sometimes data is looked at and then certain portions of the data (55 cities with the "right" trends) are presented to give a false picture of actual circumstances.

There is reason to believe this rise in crime is real, and the problems it brings may be affecting you sooner than you may expect.

Violent crime is disproportionately committed in our large cities. Trauma units in those cities have become quite skilled at saving gun shot victims that may have died 10 years ago. Saving the life of a crime victim is great news, but many shooting victims in large cities are gang members involved in drug trafficking. While I am certainly not arguing that saving the life of a dealer is "bad" it does have some interesting consequences.

Let us consider the majority of shootings; Drug related (often gang related) violence. This next section has nothing to do with legal concealed carry.

When a hospital saves a shooting victim, the crime that would have been murder becomes "attempted murder." While this is still a felony, it does not have the emotional pull that leads to long prison terms or the death penalty. In this way surgeons may save the life of the victim and the shooter.

Recovered and back on the street, "victims" may now seek revenge, leading to another shooting. As more victims survive shootings, there may be tendencies to get more violent to achieve the desired result - killing the person. We see an escalation of violence, which become the new "normal."

Now when these criminals come in contact with regular citizens they are more dangerous than in years past. Dealers seek new territory where they have fewer problems with rival gangs in the inner city.

So - is there any indication any of the above is related to our increasing crime trends? I recently talked with several law enforcement officers who confirm that crimes have changed in recent years, tending to get more violent. Victims who are completely compliant with armed criminals are now regularly shot. A recent news story told of one such crime where a man was shot to death.

The lesson for the law abiding citizen is that violent crime is likely increasing, and more likely than ever to occur in the "safe" places you live and work. Police can not be everywhere to protect you - you must be able to defend yourself.

Waiting for a perfect law to get your license, or for onerous restrictions to go away before you start carrying again is certainly the easy choice, but it will not keep you safe.

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