Thursday, December 28, 2006

urge to kill rising

there's been a big fuss in certain corners of the local media concerning indy's murder rate, which is the highest it's been in years. it turns out murders are up pretty much across the board nationwide.

After many years of decline, the number of murders climbed this year in New York and many other major U.S. cities, reaching their highest levels in a decade in some places. Among the reasons given: gangs, drugs, the easy availability of illegal guns, a disturbing tendency among young people to pull guns when they do not get the respect they demand, and, in Houston at least, an influx of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

the article mentions a bunch of cities, but never gets around to mentioning indy. (speculate on your own whether this omission is a much-needed bit of perspective or a glaring error on the AP's part.) new york, chicago, new haven, houston, cincinnati, oakland, and philadelphia are all mentioned as cities that have seen increases—often sharp ones—in the murder rate this year. los angeles and san francisco saw slight declines. new orleans "is the only major U.S. city that saw a sharp decline in the number of homicides" in 2006, but then new orleans only has about half as many people in it as it did a couple years ago.

this, the end, is the most amusing part of the article:

Andrew Karmen, a criminologist at John Jay College in New York, said that while there are various theories for the drop in murders in New York and other cities in the 1990s, no one knows for sure why it happened. And if they are going up again, no one knows the reason for that, either, he said.

He noted that police departments tend to take credit when the murder rate goes down. "When crime goes up it will be interesting to see whether they will accept responsibility," Karmen said.

heh. i think we all know the answer to that, at least locally:

"Read about your mayor and how he lies to the city just so he can build a new dome. He doesn't care about anything else," said one officer. "Is it really safe to come to a game? I'd be wearing a bulletproof vest if I was some of you folks."

The officer's comments were a not-so-veiled reference to a violent year in the city in which homicides increased dramatically.

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