Homicides in America on decline in 2019
You can thank the boys in blue; not the gun grabbers
By Jack Hammer, Crime & Justice Reporter – July 20, 2019
With the summer shooting season in full swing throughout many large US cities, I was astonished and pleased to read this July 01 ABC news headline: “Chicago shootings at 4-year low in 2019”. You can read the full article here. In addition to the good news from Chicago, the FBI preliminary 2018 homicide report confirms a 6.7% decline from previous year – 2017 (see table below).
Of course it is too early for the FBI to make a 2019 homicide forecast, but never fear; House Clark is here for a Fearless Forecast. A good starting pointing for my estimate is the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) which is updated daily by searching over 2,500 news sources in the USA. The website can be found here. I did a data capture on July 01, 2019 to begin the semi-annual calculations.
The challenge when working with GVA data is how they keep count on the number of deaths. I am only interested in the homicide totals, so the table below outlines the method used to calculate homicides from GVA data. You need to dig into the GVA spreadsheets (downloadable) to sort the numbers to discover about 20% of the GVA gun deaths are not homicides.
I estimate a 5% error bar on the final estimate mainly due to the jump from gun homicides to all homicides. It is impossible (for me) to tally all the homicides by stabbing, strangling, and other non-firearm murder types; therefore, the estimate depends on FBI historical data on weapons used in homicides. As can be seen by the chart below, there has been a gradual decline in US murders since 2016, and 2019 will hopefully continue the downward trend.
As shown by the above chart, the US 2019 homicides are on pace to be the lowest of the last five years. There still remain pockets of very violent areas in many large US cities. I did a search on the GVA database using the key word: drive by, and got 351 hits for the month of June alone. The 351 drive by incidents in June resulted in 381 casualties, with about 15% being gunshot deaths. Most of the drive-by shooting crimes go unsolved by the police, but that is not to say that the police are ineffective at removing armed and dangerous criminals from the streets. When I searched the GVA database for keyword: felon in possession, I got, on average, 95 hits per week. That is an impressive number of arrests that should result in hundreds, if not thousands, of dangerous criminals doing serious time in the pen.
On another positive note, gun related Home Invasions (HI) are trending downward in 2019. At the current pace of 850 HI in the first 6 months, expect ~1700 HI for the full year. This number of HI is the lowest amount in the last six years, and 18% lower than the 2,075 HI reported in 2018.