CRIME PROBLEM (gunsandcrime)

THE VIOLENT CRIME PROBLEM

(1/9/99)

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Although crime rates have been dropping since '91 pretty much throughout the nation, we still have plenty of reason to worry.  Any one of us might be among those smaller numbers who will be victims of violent or property crime each year.

If you're a white, nonhispanic, California female 35-49 years old, living in a metropolitan area like 97% of Californians do, and your household has a little over the average annual income, your chance of being the victim of murder, rape or other violent crime during any year is only about 11 in a thousand (1.1%) based on data from the 1995 FBI Uniform Crime Report and the US Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey.  Of a hundred people like you in your neighborhood, ma'am, only about 1 of you will be a victim of violent crime in the course of this year, but about 11 of you will over a 10 year period.  And a fifth of you will over a 20 year period.

As you age, your chances of avoiding violent crime will get better.  People in the 50-64 range experience only a third as much violent crime as 35-49 year olds—hopefully not because they're stuck at home where the crime rate is lowest.  You can also improve your odds by moving to "the country" or by doing the right things to improve your security.

Maybe it will be comforting to know that, if you are one of those 1.1% of the women in your category who are raped, murdered or assaulted this year, you may be one of the 45% of the victims for whom the authorities will apprehend the attacker.  Why, if you're murdered, there is even a 65% chance that the police will apprehend someone!  And, if you are victimized, maybe you'll be one of the portion for whom the attacker will actually end up spending some time in jail or prison rather than being released immediately to "do it" again.  Oh,....... what?  This doesn't make you feel better?

Then maybe it will be comforting to know that things could be worse.  You could be your husband.  His chance of being a victim of violent crime are about 1.66 times as great as yours.  Your 16-24 year old son or grandson is 2-3 times as likely as you are to be a victim of violent crime.  Still don't feel better?

Count your blessings.  If your son were hispanic his odds of being a victim of violent crime would be about 17 times greater than his are now.  If he were black, the odds would be about 13 times greater.  The crime rates for families with lower incomes are also greater than for yourself.  Maybe you care about the plights of these people not as fortunate as you?  You should, even for your own wellbeing.  People caring enough to do something effective can reduce the violent crime problem for all of us.

Don't assume that the crime rates will continue to drop.  We've just gone through several years of improving economy at the same time we've gone through several years of improving crime rates.  The economy won't improve forever.  What does that tell you?  Right....we should pass a law against bad economy.  Now you're thinking like a politician.  Sorry,....that won't work.  The economy doesn't take orders from government or laws.

During the years when our violent crime rates were worst, we had peak populations of males between the ages of 17 and 24.  Aha!  There's the way to keep crime down.  Just get rid of all males between 17 and 24 years of age.  Good idea, but the politicians know that won't work because too many people would be upset by it and would vote the politicians out.

So, think like a politician to come up with the fix that will work.  We'll only get rid of 17-year olds.  That way, nobody will object but the tiny minority consisting of non-voting 17-year olds and their mommies.  Mommies of younger kids won't even notice that the law would someday affect their children.  If we do it every year, eventually there won't be any males between the ages of 17 and 24, and our crime will drop dramatically.  See how easy politics is.  You could become a politician too if you don't have any conscience.

Seriously, we can't get rid of all those young men.  What would young girls do?  And, if we were to start doing this, someone would notice that most crime is done by men; people would then want to outlaw men and I'd have to go hide in the mountains or get a serious make-over.

So, what can be done to improve crime rates and improve your chances, your family's chances, your friends' chances, your neighbors' chances and my chances of getting through our lives without being a victim of violent crime?

We could pay the criminals not to victimize us in a violent way.  Then we'd all know what it's like to be poor slaves, but we'd still be subject to violent attack by our masters just for the meanness of it.  We would be poor because it would cost us all we have to satisfy all the criminals in the manner to which they would soon become accustomed.

Although nothing can totally eliminate violent crime, several basic things will help a lot.  Click here to find out about them.

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