- - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sound the alarms! Better yet — shut the alarms off! And tell the alarmist media to cease its scare-mongering.

The homicide rate in America is the lowest in 50 years, since 1963. So reports the U.S. Department of Justice, despite the breathless warnings from networks, Eastern Establishment newspapers, and gun control politicians.

Murders in America hit their modern peak back in 1980. Today’s murder rate is only half what it was then. Half!

In fact, official statistics contradict the flood of propaganda from the media about gun crimes and mass murders. About 95 percent of homicides involve only a single victim. And the rate for killings involving a firearm is only half what it was 20 years ago.

Unfortunately, agenda-driven media love to hype and dramatize sensational killings without providing perspective. They create a false impression of crime sprees and imminent danger, using that to press for gun control and other limits on constitutional rights and civil liberties.

Yet the statistics are readily available to refute that image. The most recent annual report (December 2013) from the DoJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reports:

“In 2011, an estimated 14,610 persons were victims of homicide in the United States … This is the lowest number of homicide victims since 1968, and marks the fifth consecutive year of decline. The homicide rate in 2011 was 4.7 homicides per 100,000 persons, the lowest level since 1963.”

Notice the distinction made between the total number of murders and the murder rate. One is the lowest since 1968, the other the lowest since 1963.

The murder rate peaked in 1980 at 10.2 homicides per 100,000 persons — more than twice the most recently reported rate, which was for 2011.

For the gun control crowd, the report also notes: “The rate of homicides involving a firearm decreased by 49 percent from 1992 to 2011.”

Mass murders remain rare: “From 2002 to 2011, the majority (95 percent) of homicide incidents involved a single victim.”

Murders involving firearms are declining: “Overall, the total number of homicide incidents involving a firearm declined from more than 16,100 in 1992 to approximately 9,900 in 2011.”

In the most recent year reported (2011), although 73 percent of male homicides were with a firearm, only 49 percent of females killed were gun victims. The others were attacked with knives, blunt objects, hands, fists and feet, or with the use of poison, fire or explosives.

Among males, the overall murder rate was three times higher than that for females. Among blacks, it was six times higher than that for among whites.

Why the dramatic improvement, with the murder rate cut in half since 1980? Increases in police forces deserve some credit. So do dramatic rises in personal protection, especially with more than 8 million Americans now having concealed carry permits. Also credit get-tough sentencing programs that take dangerous offenders off the streets. Prisons are more crowded, but our homes, streets and neighborhoods are safer.

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