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How Common Is a Double-Digit, Single-Year Jump in the Murder Rate?

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As Bill noted earlier, today's FBI statistics report, Crime in the United States -- 2015, reports an 11% increase in the number of murders.  The murder rate (murders per 100,000 population), rose a slightly lower but still horrific 10%.  See Table 1A.

How unusual is this?  I dove into the historical data to find out.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics online data gives us murder rates back to 1960.  The rates range from 4.4 to 10.2 murders per 100k and are expressed to only one decimal place, so there is some rounding error, but they are good enough for a quick take.

Putting the rates in a spreadsheet and calculating the percent change for each year over the previous year, we see that only twice in over a half century has the rate jumped double digits in one year and once just a tad below that threshold.  Those three years were 1966-1968, when crime was rising at a horrific rate.

We have never had a double-digit drop, but several years come close.

The standard deviation for the changes is 5.9%.  This year's change is not quite two standard deviations from the mean, but it's close.  (The mean is near zero.) 

In plain English, this is a very unusual one-year jump, although not unprecedented.

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Three possible contributing factors:

(1) Decrease in gun prosecutions by the Obama Administration.

(2) Informal de-policing brought on by cops' fear of being the next Darren Wilson.

(3) Failure to deport alien criminals.

All three lead back to Obama.

"Putting the rates in a spreadsheet and calculating the percent change for each year over the previous year, we see that only twice in over a half century has the rate jumped double digits in one year and once just a tad below that threshold. Those three years were 1966-1968, when crime was rising at a horrific rate."

Oh, and what else happened that decade (1960-1970)? The prison population dropped, the only decade in the entire century other than the 1940's when our criminal aged men were at war.

Murder rate up 11% compared to last year --- End of the world near, cats and dogs negotiating possible cohabitation agreement.

Real Numbers:
1971 -- 17,780 murders in a population of 206.2 mil
2015 -- 15,696 murders in a population of 321.4 mil

Please take a moment to identify the relationships between per capita data and data represented by ratios of population. Be sure to shore your work.

Murder rate for the purpose of the post is precisely defined in the OP.

Murder rate up 11% compared to last year -- Chill out, it's mostly just black people and whites who don't count anyway, didn't go to Yale or Stanford, not cool enough to bake pot brownies and go to Earth Day, so everybody just take a deep breath. I mean, really, you stuffed shirts freak out so easily. A few knifings here, a few shootings there.............hey, look people, why do you always have to play Chicken Little?

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