Welcome to the second lesson in Understanding Modern Violence.
We are now going to look deep at violent crime trends, pull out the key data and show it to you in a visual format primarily using charts. I will then discuss what each of these charts means from an Understanding Modern Violence perspective.
This is the first of two parts because violent crime analysis is just such a big topic and we have a lot to go over. There is a lot of useful data to be looking at as we build our appreciation of the problem.
Let's get into today's lesson.
Today we are going to be learning the truth about violent crime. Facts. Not surveying public opinion or coming to conclusions based on sensational headlines.
The reason we are going to be spending some time looking at violent crime is because... Violent crime is what we are concerned about! Violent crime is the overarching umbrella term for mugging, break and enter, murder/homicide, rape and assault. That is what we are trying to understand so we can avoid it.
This is the really important topic matter that almost no martial arts or self defense school teaches. Yet at the same time they espouse they are telling students they are learning how to defend against attackers in the act of committing assault or a mugging or what have you. Crazy.
The Victim and the Offender
As you look through this lesson, keep in mind two things.
One, when data about violent crime victims is showed, think about how this relates to you. Think about how you are presenting as a potential victim. How do you compare the most common victims in the various charts? What can you learn about your vulnerabilities?
Two, when data about offenders is showed, think about what picture this paints of a potential attacker. Is this data surprising? Does it not fit with your pre-conceived notions? Is some of it confronting? This data will assist you in painting an accurate picture of what the most common offender profiles looks like. Most people have no idea about this. They just make it up.
The following charts are drawn from data from two primary sources. One is the FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) tool. That tool is available for you to interogate right HERE.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program serves as the national repository for the collection of crime statistics and its primary objective is to generate reliable information for use in law enforcement administration, operation, and management. Participation by law enforcement agencies in the program is voluntary. You can learn more about the UCR HERE and HERE.
The other major source is the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). You can go to the main area that looks at violent crime right HERE. Within the BJS system they have a range of data sources including from the National Crime Victimisation Survey (NCVS).
The NCVS is the US's primary source of information on criminal victimization. Each year, data are obtained from a nationally representative sample of about 90,000 households, comprising nearly 160,000 persons, on the frequency, characteristics, and consequences of criminal victimization in the United States.
The NCVS provides the largest national forum for victims to describe the impact of crime and characteristics of violent offenders. You can learn a lot more about the NCVS right HERE.
The violent crime data analysed below is drawn only from US sources. This is because I know the vast majority of the Low Tech Combat audience are from the US. In the future, it is my intent to include key violent crime findings from Australia, the UK and Canada (and New Zealand?). I will prioritise these depending on demand.
Despite the focus on the US, there are universal truths about violent crime. Some of these you may have already read about in the Human Combative Behaviour Manifesto you received at the start of Understanding Modern Violence. A lot of the key findings found below will apply across Western countries and even likely wherever humans engage in violence with one another.
Let's get into it.
52 Year Violent Crime Trends (TOTAL NUMBERS)
Source data: FBI UCR tool.
In the above chart I have looked at total US numbers of violent crime in the US over a 52 year period so we can see how violent crime has changed over long time frames. This helps us situate ourselves a little and provides some perspective.
So when people tell you violent crime is the worst it has ever been or is always getting worse, you now know that is simply false. Whether people perpetuate that narrative out of ignorance or deliberate malice is another matter.
Of importance to those living in the US, you can go to the FBI UCR tool, or page, (linked above) and do your own analysis on violent crime trends for your State.
Looking at State figures will give you more relevant data for you. You may also want to do this for family members who live in a different State or when you are considering moving to a different State. It will no doubt be interesting to see how your State to national averages.
So the above chart shows total numbers of violent crime. I can hear what some of you are saying - "but what about the rate per capita? The total numbers could be giving us skewed results?" Very good. I like your thinking.
Let's look at the overall rates per 100,000 people and see how that compares.
52 Year violent crime rate (per 100,000 PEOPLE)
We can see the chart is almost identical.
In both charts you will see the very noticeable peak in violent crime in the US in the early 1990's and the drop off since that terrible time.
There are many theories about what caused that significant drop off. Depending on who you speak to will determine what answer you get.
- Fixing broken windows.
- Legalising abortion.
- Reducing/eliminating lead exposure to children.
- The police war on drugs (especially the çrack epidemic. See also here).
- Massive incarceration.
Whatever it was, or combination of events, it worked. Now, people living in the US have to deal with far less violent crime than in the early 1990's. And that is a good thing.
Just before we move on, I want you to have a good look at the shape of the above charts. Note the gradual rise up to the early 1990's and the two small humps on the way up.
You will also notice the general smooth drop off with one slight bump.
In the following few charts I am going to be comparing some of the shapes to highlight some key points about various violent crime categories.
52 Year Murder rates (per 100,000 PEOPLE)
The above chart is also drawn from the FBI UCR statistics.
This chart is looking at the rate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter in the US over the same 52 year period - per 100,000 people.
This chart looks quite different to the previous two. Note the three peaks around 1975, 1980 and 1993. Also note the drop off to around 1999 where the rate of murder levels off.
Take it in for a while.
Now, have a look at the following chart.
52 YEAR ROBBERY RATE (PER 100,000 PEOPLE)
How similar! The above chart is also drawn from FBI UCR data.
The abover chart looks at the robbery rate in the US over the same 52 year period - per 100,000 people.
Again, three peaks occuring at 1975, 1981 and 1993 then a drop off to 1999.
How interesting. Whatever was causing the ebbs and flows of the murder rate in the US over this 52 year period had the same effect on robbery and/or vice versa.
This is important. This implies that both murder and robbery are similar in nature. Whatever is effecting the murder offenders is also having the same effect on robbery offenders.
Because we have already learnt that robbery is a predatory form of human combative behaviour it implies that murder (not manslaughter) is also predatory in nature. This makes sense. However, rather than having a hunch we can see quantitative data providing evidence of this.
Ok, get ready for the next one.
52 YEAR ASSAULT RATE (PER 100,000 PEOPLE)
How different! The above chart was also drawn from the FBI UCR data.
This chart shows very different characteristics than the murder and robbery chart. We know from Understanding Modern Violence already that assault is alpha male type human combative behaviour.
So we already know that assault and robbery are very different sorts of violent crime. However, again, this large data set shows us quantitative evidence on just how different assault and robbery/murder is.
Whatever caused the changes in violent crime was effecting offenders of robbery differently to assault. So we know these violent crimes are fundamentally different and need to be treated differently and countered differently.
The next chart?
52 YEAR RAPE RATE (PER 100,000 PEOPLE)
Surprised? The above chart is also drawn from FBI UCR data.
This chart closely mirrors that of asssault. This implies that forcible rape is an alpha male type of human violence. It implies rape is not predatory. Rather it is more about domination/status etc.
I am not a rape subject matter expert but from this quantitative analysis from large data sets I am confident stating the above. The data is indicating that offenders of assault and rape are being effected the same way.
Somthing to think about.
I trust the above has been a good introduction to understanding modern violence. I am assuming that most of you have already had some pre-conceived notions corrected. That is the aim - to show you the hard data.
So this brings us to the end of the first of 2 Understanding Modern Violence lessons on violent crime analysis (finally!). We are spending a lot of time on this topic as it is really foundation baseline knowledge we need to have to develop an accurate appreciation of how violent crime is happening out there in the world.
Until next lesson, stay classy and see you later.