Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Comparison: Two Approaches to Crime

LibertyBush: Florida crime rate down to lowest level since '71 When Florida passed the updated Castle Doctrine law, also called Stand Your Ground, the usual suspects predicted doom and gloom and "Wild West Shootouts." (Don't they get tired of predicting the Wild West?)

[OK that Palm Beach Post article is history... try the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement instead.]

Well, of course, the reality turns out to be a little bit different than the predictions of mayhem.
The crime rate, compiled by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, decreased 3.7 percent from 4,855 crimes per 100,000 people in 2004 to 4,677 crimes per 100,000 people last year. The total included 881 murders, 12,230 rapes and 75,204 vehicle thefts.
While it is true that the number of violent crimes rose slightly, the rate of violent crime per 100,000 people fell slightly.

The Brady Bunch, et al, also predicted more death based on the fact that Florida does not outlaw so-called "assault weapons" or high-capacity magazines.
In 2005, the state's law enforcement agencies reported 838,063 crimes compared to 850,490 in 2004, a 1.5 percent decrease.
What did the Brady Bunch have to say about the latest set of statistics? [Yes, that is the sound of crickets chirping.]
A telephone message left for comment after hours with the The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington, D.C. was not immediately returned.
Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, that bastion of gun-control mania, the following story was published. Police Chief Declares D.C. Crime Emergency.
Thirteen people have been killed since July 1 in the District, and police are being pressured to take action by residents at community meetings and vigils to honor the dead. The victims included a popular store owner slain at closing time, a community activist killed in a park and a British citizen whose throat was slit in Georgetown.
Declaring a "crime emergency" lets the chief of police work officers overtime without paying for it. But is that enough?
"The question becomes: Is this good policing?" said Officer Kristopher Baumann, chairman of the D.C. police labor committee for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1. "What we need is intelligent, comprehensive crime-fighting strategy rather than reactionary policing."
How is Boston - that other gun-control area? Glad you asked. Take a look at this story in the Boston Herald Shootings rise, with a bullet
There have been 214 shootings in Boston as of July 2, including 25 that left the victim dead, statistics show. That represents a 75 percent increase in shootings compared to the same six-month period a year ago, when the city recorded 122 eruptions of gunfire.
Let's say that again. Boston, for all its gun-control mania, saw a 75% increase in shootings. For all of their concentration on gun buy-backs, and restricting the ability of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves, they seem to be headed in the wrong direction.

So, is it better to let people defend themselves, or to disarm the law-abiding citizens in the face of violent crime? Well, you can judge my answer by the fact that I live in Florida, not Boston or DC. [Hat tip to SayUncle for the Florida/DC stats.]

Update, July 13, 2006: The FDLE statistics on crime in the state of Florida are here, in PDF form.

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