Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Democrats do a bad job on crime; Republicans and the Media are worse!!
A comparison of Democrats and Republicans based on the crime rates of the states that they govern indicates that the five states with the highest murder rates all have Republican governors and Republican control of both houses of the state Legislatures. The Democrats have a more moderate advantage when it comes to the ten states with the lowest murder rates, as indicated below; but that doesn't necessarily mean that they do a good job on crime.
If you compare the United States to other developed countries, (List of countries by intentional homicide rate), it doesn't do nearly as well as most of them; although it does much better than many of the undeveloped countries, which are mostly having much more political problems. In many cases part of the reason for their political problems is because the United States is supporting corrupt regimes that have political support of multinational corporations.
The murder rate for the United States in 2012 was 4.7 per 100,000 people; the murder rate in Canada was only 1.6. In most parts of the developed world it is lower, including many that are below 1 per 100,000. Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and New Zealand all have less than 1 per 100,000 and France and the United Kingdom both have a rate of exactly 1. Only the states with the lowest rates in the United States have barely dipped below a rate of 1 per 100,000; and that hasn't happened since 2009 when New Hampshire dropped to .8 for one year before going back up to 1 or more.
This implies that a comparison of who does the best job addressing crime might have to consider the policies of other countries in order to find out what is most effective. Also a comparison of most of the policies that I have been reviewing, in previous posts about the causes of crime, indicates that many of the positions that would be most effective at reducing crimes aren't being addressed well by either political party; nor is the traditional media attempting to inform the public about some of the most credible research.
The higher murder and violent crime rates for states controlled by Republicans clearly indicates their policies are almost certainly worse than Democrats; what else would explain it? And this is practically never discussed in the traditional media, although it isn't hard to find much better research on the internet from the academic world even if my review isn't the best, although I have no doubt it is better than what the media and political establishment is doing.
As far as I can tell they aren't even trying; at least when it comes to finding policies that will reduce crime.
They might be trying when it comes to manipulating emotions and convincing people they're addressing crime;but their methods don't stand up to scrutiny, which is totally absent from the mainstream media or the political debate.
(This is part of a series of posts exploring the root causes of violent crime and ways to recognize and prevent them. Past posts on the subject include Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows; Does lack of education increase violent crime? Religion?; How does gambling and gun control impact violent crime?; Politics, not technology, caused botched executions; Wal-Mart crime: Rolling Back Safety more than prices?; States with high murder rates have larger veteran populations; Teach a soldier to kill and he just might; and How much does Income Inequality Affects Crime Rates?)
The past blog posts on contributing causes of crime and numerous studies on a variety of subjects have indicated that improvements in education, reduction in corporal punishment, poverty, homelessness, and income inequality will all help reduce violent crime. They also indicate that reducing the amount of gambling or better efforts to inform the public about how the odds in gambling are always fixed, other wise the gambling institutions wouldn't be able to cover expenses and make a profit; and reasonable gun control laws will reduce crime.
Evidence has indicated that the death penalty doesn't help reduce crime and that the growth of big box stores especially Wal-Mart has been accompanied by increased crime, or a reduction in the amount that crime is being reduced at those location, which creates similar results. A similar conclusion could be made about the reduction in crime if other causes were adressed as well. For example, if more efforts were made to educate the public about how corporal punishment escalates to more violent crime then further reductions in the murder rate would almost certainly have already happened. The same would also go for addressing other contributing causes like poverty and education; however public policy has been moving in the opposite direction on those issues despite grass roots resistance.
Evidence has also indicated that many of the veterans, coming back from wars based on deceptive information, have been more prone to violence, possibly as a result of PTSD or aggressive training including hazing that teaches them to use violence to accomplish their goals. Efforts to treat PTSD have been slow when they happen at all.
In most if not all of these cases few if any politicians from either party are making much if any effort to address these problems; in most cases they're actually attempting to promote policies that accomplish the opposite. The Republicans are probably the ones with the strongest rhetoric about getting tough on crime by increasing punishment, including increased reliance on "zero tolerance" policies, the death penalty or trying juveniles as adults and accepting "no excuses" for traditional crimes that are often refereed to as "blue collar."
However the same get tough on crime strategy doesn't apply when it comes to the white collar crimes that deprive lower classes of the fair wages, safe environment or access to health care or education.
They rarely even consider the possibility that these might impact crime, yet a close look at the research clearly indicates that it will.
Furthermore, even though the Republicans are probably more outspoken on this so-called get tough on crime approach many of the highest profile Democrats have been becoming more like the Republicans on this issue including Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Joe Biden. At the same time, when it comes to one issue, that Republicans have been better at than Democrats, gambling, they are increasingly becoming more reliant on gambling campaign contributions as well and they also promote it as a way to "strengthen the economy" and "create jobs" even though those jobs do nothing to improve the quality of life and they do more to shift wealth to the upper classes than anything else while increasing crime.
The Republicans are also much more likely to put large numbers of people in jail; and they often use this as an excuse to deprive them of their right to vote as well. According to the Wikipedia List of U.S. states by incarceration rate (2008), which includes a brief comparison with other countries, the United States has a much higher incarceration rate than almost all other countries in the world. The only large developed country that has more than half of the incarceration rate of the United States is Russia. A few other small countries with major political problems have more than half as well and one country, Seychelles, with less than 100,000 people that hardly anyone has heard of actually has a higher rate.
Within the United States the ten states with the highest incarceration rates all have Republican control of both state legislatures and eight of them, including the top seven, have Republican governors. This is based on 2008 rates, which is the latest I could find for now, and 2012 elected officials; however it is unlikely that there are major changes since then that would effect party lines; although prison population has apparently finally begun to slowly drop since then.
The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands all have significantly worse rates than even the worst of the states, Louisiana. These three districts or territories don't have representation in congress and are less able to hold the few elected officials they do have accountable. This implies the possibility that democratic control might help reduce crime. Michigan is one of the states with the highest murder rates as well as other problems; and they're responding to some of their fiscal problems by taking over large cities and replacing elected officials with authoritarian "emergency managers" often appointed by the governor. (See Cash-strapped cities seized by new management; Michigan Naming Fiscal Manager to Help Detroit and The Scandal of Michigan's Emergency Managers for more details)
The reason many cities and states are in so much fiscal trouble is because they have often been mismanaged by corrupt politicians that have been catering to campaign contributors at the expense of the voters. Now in areas where the voters have been complacent enough to allow this and reelect those that have been destroying their fiscal stability they're now losing their right to vote some of them out.
On the other end, where murder rates are at their lowest includes one of the most progressive states in the country, Vermont, where there is extensive participation by many voters and town hall meeting participants. The political establishment is overwhelmingly rigged in favor of the campaign contributors; however there is some reason to believe that, at least at the local levels some areas where voters are less complacent, they are more inclined to pay attention to the root causes of crimes even if their elected officials try to ignore them in favor of the agenda of their campaign contributors.
This may also be indicated by some of the local areas that have managed to elect grass roots candidates, despite the opposition of powerful corporations, like Richmond California where they're had a Green Party Mayor since 2007 and they've seen a large drop in crime during that same period. I'll follow up with that more on another post; however a review of the politicians that govern the states with the highest and lowest murder rates, reports of violent crime rates and incarceration rates is included below. This also includes a comparison of some of the characteristics previously review\ed and how they compare with each other. Previous posts compared them to crime rates without comparing, for example, religion with graduation rates or gun control.
This comparison indicates that the stereotype about a large correlation between "God, Guns and religion" isn't always just a stereotype. Even though I'm sure there are many exceptions there is a large correlation for a significant percentage of each, as well as some other characteristics. The religious opposition to gambling probably isn't as strong as it used to be, except in Utah, which is mostly Mormon.
These are some comparisons between religion gun control and graduation rates that weren't provided in previous blogs.
Data was collected for this comparison from the following web pages, whichare the same listed on the previous blogs posts.
City-Data Crime rate in the US: Murders, Rapes, Robberies, Assaults, Burglaries, Thefts, Auto thefts, Arson
Wikipedia Crime rate for cities above 250,000 population
Mississippi most religious, Vermont least, survey says 01/29/2009
Church or synagogue attendance by state
State rankings of high school and college graduation rates 2011
State rankings of college graduation rates up to 2009 at this time
Gun laws by state
Firearms Death Rate per 100,000 (most recent) by state
Gambling in the United States
The following are rankings for the states that made it into the top ten or bottom ten for either murder rates, reports of violent crime or incarceration rates. The reports for murder rates are almost certainly more reliable since reported of them is mandated by law and at the local level when victims hesitate to report violent crime that doesn't result in murder they often go unreported but murder rarely do. Since incarceration rates are based on public record they're probably more reliable than reports of violent crime as well.
For one reason or another Mississippi ranks surprisingly low, at 36th when it comes to reports of violent crime despite the fact that it comes in second when it comes to murder rates. None of the southern states comes in the bottom twenty when it comes to murder but in addition to Mississippi coming in at 36th two others come in the bottom ten.
Even though Idaho is in the bottom ten for both reports of violent crime and murder, they are twelfth when it comes to incarceration rates. Wyoming also has an unusually high incarceration rate compared to their rates of violent crime and murder. However the south clearly has the highest incarceration rates in the country.