FBI 2005 Preliminary Crime Report - The Devil is In the Details

By Jim Irvine

The FBI has released its preliminary annual uniform crime report for 2005. It has generated more than the normal interest as it contains the first increase in violent crime in 5 years, and everyone wants to know why.

It’s important to note that these are preliminary numbers. They are not a complete set of data, and are not broken down sufficiently to do a thorough statistical analysis. It will be years before we know if the 2005 numbers are an anomaly, or a real change in crime trends. Still, so-called experts are giving reasons as preposterous as the NRA having renewed strength for the observed increase. It’s easy to come up with more plausible explanations for the observed data.

Violent crime (murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) increased 2.5 percent in 2005. The only category to see a drop was rape, with a 1.9% reduction. The vast majority of rapes victims are female. The fastest growing segments of gun owners are female. Criminals really do prefer unarmed victims.

Crime increased in all regions of the country. The region with the largest increase (5.7 percent) was the Midwest, comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Four of these states (Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wisconsin) prohibited their citizens from carrying firearms for self-defense during all of 2005. No other geographic region contains any states that completely forbid their citizens from carrying concealed weapons.

Ohio is another Midwestern state. While Ohio allows concealed carry, it has several laws that are very favorable to criminals that no other states have, such as not allowing concealed carry in a car. Ohio law designates many locations as “victim zones.” These are places where even a state CHL may not carry a gun to defend their life and include high crime areas such as public rest stops. Additionally, Ohio law gives immunity to businesses who’s employees or customers are injured related to the posting “no guns” signs. The large number of armed robberies of such locations proves that dangerous criminals feel quite comfortable shooting helpless victims in these locations.

Toledo experienced a 14 percent increase in violent crime and a 27 percent increase in murder. Toledo has an “assault weapons ban” which it attempts to strictly enforce. Law enforcement and elected officials dedicated a relatively large amount of time and tax-payer money in 2005 harassing law abiding citizens including those with an Ohio Concealed Handgun License. It seems they should focus more on criminals. Toby Hoover and the “Ohio Coalition against Handgun Violence” are based in Toledo.

Columbus saw a 2.7 percent increase in violent crime including a 16 percent increase in murder. The data does not allow a comparison of before and after the passage of the “Columbus assault weapons ban” better known as a “mentel case” but I found no indication that any criminal has ever been punished in any “mentel case” This is not really surprising, as we detailed months ago. I called Mayor Michael Coleman’s office but his press secretary Mike Brown did not return my call. I called the City of Columbus Communications department, but again, they did not return my call. Apparently they can’t find any public good in their anti-gun agenda either. Too bad they where spending their time and your money harassing law abiding citizens while murders were increasing by double digit rates.

Illegal immigration is by definition comprised of people who break the law. These individuals do not qualify for concealed carry licenses, but do represent a significant portion of our prison population. An increase in illegal immigration is likely to cause an increase in criminal activity. The West and South represented the areas with the 2nd and 3rd largest increase in crime.

These raw numbers need to be compared with population changes and converted to crime rates for more meaningful analysis. It takes time and effort to draw concrete conclusions from the data, but the focus of Toledo, Columbus, and Cleveland to enforce so-called assault weapons bans are associated with crime increases, particularly murders, far greater than the nation at large.

The data are interesting, and any increase in crime in concerning, but it’s impossible to determine any cause and effect with this limited data. There is no reason to believe the lessons learned in years of study are not still valid. Criminals still prefer unarmed victims. Guns still save lives. Noticeably worse crime trends are observed in states without right to carry. Criminals seem to prefer to operate in large cities that spend resources aimed at victims rather than on the criminals. Ohio needs to pass a firearms preemption law.

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