- Kentucky city called socialist for buying gas station, undercutting competitor fuel prices
- Israel hits five mosques, sports complex in overnight Gaza strikes
- Hillary Clinton dogged for refusing reporters’ questions on book tour
- EPA tweet baffles: ‘I’m now a C-List celebrity in Kim Kardashian: Hollywood’ iPhone game
- Australian P.M. Abbott: MH17 evidence tampered with on ‘industrial scale’
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez tells Hispanics to vote and ‘punish those’ who oppose amnesty
- Country singer Tim McGraw not sorry for slapping female fan: ‘Things happen’
- Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks
- White House takes credit for drop in unaccompanied children at border
- International crises be damned, Obama’s fundraising trip must go on
Americans give peace a fighting chance
Study cites drop in violent crimes
Question of the Day
America is peaceful. No, really.
Though Hollywood and the news media often portray the nation as a chaotic crucible of gangsters and crime, the U.S. is more “peaceful” now than in the past two decades. So says the United States Peace Index, released Tuesday by the Institute for Economics & Peace, a nonprofit research group that based its conclusions on federal statistics on homicides, crimes, police employees, small arms and the jail populations of all 50 states.
“The last twenty years have seen a substantial and sustained reduction in direct violence in the U.S. The homicide rate has halved since 1991, with a concurrent reduction in the violent crime rate from 748 to 399 violent crimes per 100,000 over this period,” the study said.
Some states are more peaceful than others. Maine sits at the top of the list, Louisiana at the very bottom. New Jersey, at No. 28, is more peaceful than New York at 31, while Virginia (25) outranks Maryland (38), and Florida languishes in 47th place.
Peace is cheaper, the researchers insist. “Containing violence” costs the U.S. $460 billion a year for law enforcement and incarceration — or $3,217 for each U.S. taxpayer, the study said.
“What this research really says is that America is a much safer place than the average citizen might think. People are more fearful than they need to be,” Steve Killelea, chairman of the research organization, told The Washington Times.
He said the expansive study is not a “moral judgment,” but practical research.
“The media has a role in creating the impression of violent America. Let’s face it. The only big news is bad news, and violence sells,” Mr. Killelea said. “It’s complex. Politicians who adopt a tough law-and-order policy, for example, find their programs resonate with people who want to feel safe.”
Other states that share the peaceful limelight are Vermont, in second place, followed by New Hampshire, Minnesota, Utah, North Dakota, Washington, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Iowa.
The least peaceful states after Louisiana are Tennessee, Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama.
The ranking goes into excruciating detail: Cambridge-Newton-Framingham in Massachusetts is the most peaceful metropolitan area in America. Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn is the least peaceful.
The researchers have distanced themselves from touchy-feely notions about peace, and have stuck by the statistics and the numbers.
“It’s really important to count, or we have no way of knowing if our policies help or hinder fostering peaceful communities. These studies are a method to get peace away from mere hippie kind of talk and into the hands of the mainstream,” Mr. Killelea said.
Local factors weigh heavily. For example, New York and New Jersey — the “Sopranos” territory — have large police forces.
“The Northeast is once again America’s most peaceful region. The Northeast has the highest police-employees rate, however, if New York and New Jersey were factored out, then the [police-employee] rate would be below the national average,” the study says.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Inside the Beltway: White House fundraising — never a dull moment
- Poll: 81 percent of U.S. voters believe Russia 'involved' in downed Malaysian airliner
- Inside the Beltway: Putin popularity soars in Russia
- Netanyahu will take whatever action necessary for 'sustainable quiet' in Gaza
- The Republican parade begins: Eight GOP heavyweights head to Iowa
Latest Blog Entries
- A startling 20 percent of Democratic lawmakers already endorse Hillary Clinton for president
- Hey food police: calling obesity a 'disease' is actually a health risk
- Cheese and an 'enhanced experience': White House goes showbiz on the State of the Union address
- Cruz calls it a 'circus': the State of the Union spectacle begins
- Half of American fans say God and 'supernatural' forces are in play during sports events
TWT Video Picks
U.S. appetite for drugs begets violence migrants are fleeing
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Jewish woman booted from JetBlue flight over fight with Palestinian
- YOUNG: A sinking presidency, deeper after November?
- PRUDEN: A deadly enemy within exacerbating immigration crisis
- Edward Snowden to work with Russia on anti-spy technology
- MERRY: Handicaps in Hillary's way
- U.S. scrambles as violence escalates in Israel-Hamas conflict
- Humanists seek support from Congress on military chaplains
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- Big milestone for Britain's little prince
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq