Earlier this year Tracy Halvorsen wrote an article called Baltimore City, You're Breaking my Heart. It was received with...uh, mixed results. Now Andy, from the blog B'more Connected has looked at the article from the point of view of statistics. "I think nearly everybody can agree with the basic premise suggested by Halvorsen’s article. I will paraphrase that premise as: It is tragic and frustrating when our neighbors, friends, or coworkers are the victims of violent crimes. Violent crime is too frequent in Baltimore. Something needs to be done to decrease that crime. Beyond that, I think we see Baltimore differently."
The UK Peace Index [PDF], a new publication from The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), has produced a startling new headline: against public perceptions of crime, both crime and homicide have fallen significantly. The fall over the last decade has resulted in the UK homicide rate now being roughly equivalent to that of the Western European average, and it is now at its lowest level since 1978. [more inside]
Almost one year after Congressional Republicans tried to limit the definition of rape to only include "force" (previously), the Department of Justice is redefining the term--but this time to to expand it dramatically:
The outdated definition that has been governing national rape statistics since 1929, “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will,” has been updated to "penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” According to Susan D. Carbon, director of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, the previous definition “excluded an untold number of victims.” For the first time, men will be included in national rape statistics, as well as those raped while unable to give consent due to intoxication or other mental and physical incapacity.
Bill James, a pioneer in the field of baseball statistics, has now turned his attention to serial killers and their methods.
A team of researchers at Iowa State University has found that a murder costs more than $17.25 Million to society. [via]
DNA’s Dirty Little Secret: A forensic tool renowned for exonerating the innocent may actually be putting them in prison.
TheDataWeb - a network of online data libraries on topics including census data, economic data, health data, income and unemployment data, population data, labor data, cancer data, crime and transportation data, family dynamics, vital statistics data
The Leaden Echo and The Golden Echo - Early Childhood Lead Exposure and Criminal Activity Later In Life
...Although crime did fall dramatically in New York during Giuliani's tenure, a broad range of scientific research has emerged in recent years to show that the mayor deserves only a fraction of the credit that he claims. The most compelling information has come from an economist in Fairfax who has argued in a series of little-noticed papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce lead poisoning. The theory offered by the economist, Rick Nevin, is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children's exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives. What makes Nevin's work persuasive is that he has shown an identical, decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries...Research Links Lead Exposure, Criminal Activity
Research Links Childhood Lead Exposure to Changes in Violent Crime Rates Throughout the 20th Century (PDF)
The three-decade decline in teenage and young-adult rape accompanies huge drops in all crimes -- murder, assault, drug abuse and property -- committed by youth... Women's rapidly rising status and economic independence in the larger society fostered new attitudes and laws that rejected violence against women. That younger people growing up in this environment of greater gender equality should show the biggest decreases in rape, while older generations lag behind, is consistent with this explanation... Over the last 30 years, rape arrest rates have fallen by 80% among Californians under age 15, much larger than the 25% drop among residents age 40 and older.The decline of rape
So, kids today are different.