The U.S. problem is in large cities

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I enjoyed reading Henry Kantrowitz’ letter to the editor in today’s A.M. Costa Rica. I do believe a great deal of gun violence relates to drug use and trafficking as well as crimes committed under the influence of a drug or alcohol.

But Mr. Kantrowitz should be more careful about using statistics. His numbers are off in several ways. Murder rates are quoted as a ratio of occurrences per 100,000 population not per 1,000. In murder rate, the U.S. ranks only 121 out of 216 as shown above. Unfortunately, the Americas (North, Central and South) as a group has the highest murder rate in the world. This is particularly true in Central America. Even though Costa Rica is the lowest murder rate in Central America, it’s still twice the U.S. rate (new data for 2015 is likely to spike the Costa Rica rate to 12+). Look up the data, I did (Wikipedia).

Numbers from the World Bank or CIA data show somewhat different absolute numbers but give the same overall comparison.

In the U.S., the most serious problem seems to be in large, sophisticated cities, and it’s been increasing in 2015. Chicago’s rate through August projects to be 14.5, Baltimore will be 34.7, and Milwaukee is shooting for (pun intended) 17.4. These are closer to Central American rates.

Mr. Obama would do better to confront the big city murder problem in the U.S. rather than worry about tightening background checks, which have been shown to be meaningless (e.g., San Bernadino). The Wild West may be over but it’s obvious that today’s wild west is keeping the murder rate average in the country suppressed from achieving even higher numbers.


Bob Normand
Editor’s Note: A sharper editor would have caught the honest statistical error by Mr. Kantrowitz and brought it to his attention.
This entry was posted in Costa Rica News. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *