Biggest catalyst in violence increase: availability of guns

A bunch of reports indicate a second annual increase in the occurance of violent crimes. I haven’t located one of the actual reports, but here’s what I have found:

There is a USDOJ report due out next week, and there is this report, released in early March 2007, from the Police Executive Research Forum. There is also a DOJ report from early in May, for which I can only find extremely scant references in PR releases and other news articles, but cannot find isolated and distinct. The report is the result of the first of a three phase effort Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced last fall, called the Initiative for Safer Communities.

It is in the paraphrasing of the Initiative for Safer Communities study’s results where Gonzales fingers guns as the problem. From CNN (pardon the lengthy excerpt but it tells the story that some of us, like myself, have presumed for years would be the trend):

The spike [in violent crime found by the FBI in 12/06] prompted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to order a study of violence in 18 cities. The results [the ones I cannot find anywhere online] were released earlier this week, when Gonzales announced that the Justice Department would spend $50 million to combat urban violence.

The Justice Department concluded that the increased violence is caused by a younger and more violent generation of criminals who have easy access to guns. Many are loosely organized into street gangs and crews.

In Philadelphia, police and civic activists point to several factors, including poverty and drugs. But by far the biggest catalyst, they say, is the availability of guns. [my emphasis]

Young men who grow up angry with few opportunities use guns to win status on the streets, said Greg Bucceroni, of Men United for a Better Philadelphia, which mentors at-risk teens, counsels crime victims and sponsors community events to try to reduce violence. (Watch Bucceroni talk about how why the violence is getting worse Video)

“They feel that’s how they get respect, so the level of violence escalates,” he said.

Bucceroni works for the city but also spends much of his time volunteering to help guide kids who have gotten into trouble. An activist since the early 1980s, he has seen the changes.

“In the 70s, I mean, if somebody came up and they had a zip gun — which was a homemade gun — that was big time,” he said. “Now if, if you don’t have an AK-47 or a sawed-off shotgun or a 9 mm, even if you pull out a .38, they laugh at you because, ‘Is that all you’ve got?’ That is their mentality when now people are carrying automatic handguns.”

So long as members of our society decide that they prefer to resolve differences and dangerous situations with a shot to the gut or the leg or the heart, regardless of whether they’ll be able to provide evidence afterwards that they had the requisite law on their side to do so, we will continue to see an increase in violent crime, against people, with guns.

Think you’re gonna call Alberto? Here’s what he says he plans to do. Does it make you feel any safer?

Me neither.

Finally, from the PERF study:

*Cleveland had a 20% or more increase in homicides between 2004 and 2006 (p.3)

*Cleveland had a more than 30% increase in robberies between 2004 and 2006 (p.3)

*Cleveland had a more than 30% increase in aggravated assaults with firearms between 2004 and 2006 (p.3)

Looks a little something like this (click on the chart; “Cleveland” is highlighted in blue):

5 thoughts on “Biggest catalyst in violence increase: availability of guns

  1. But by far the biggest catalyst, they say, is the availability of guns.“Guy Sith debunks this myth on Page 15 of Gun Facts 4.1. The number of handguns per capita in the United States has been rising steadily since 1970, but the murder rate has fluctuated during that time. There’s no correlation.”That is their mentality when now people are carrying automatic handguns.“I think Mr. Bucceroni means semiautomatic handguns. The sales of new automatic firearms was made illegal in 1986. A pre-1986 automatic firearm requires a special federal license and costs in the tens of thousands of dollars.

  2. Could cases like this be why we have repeat gun offenders driving up the violent crime rate:http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=595007&category=&BCCode=&newsdate=6/4/2007TROY — A man who allegedly admitted he shot a man in the mouth last year — before his case was tossed for police misconduct — was spared additional jail time in a plea deal reached today. Julius E. Thompson, 30, of Sixth Avenue, who was initially charged with attempted murder, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless endangerment and was sentenced to time already served.I think that despite our differences we can both agree on this:If you commit a crime with a gun, you should get 20 years for 1st offense. 2nd time 30 years, and 3rd time we’ll lets just say you won’t be going home anytime soon.

  3. Sorry if this is a double post:Hmmmm….I am confused, the supply of guns available in the U.S. is often quoted at 250 to 300 million. A pretty ample supply of a durable good (one that can last 100 years or so)so did the AG report indicate a increase in the amount of stolen guns, guns left out on their own, or legally aquired guns whose owners snap and start shooting?You said:”In Philadelphia, police and civic activists point to several factors, including poverty and drugs. But by far the biggest catalyst, they say, is the availability of guns.”Not sure about Philly, but I follow Cincinnati’s homicide rates very closly and as our county Coroner indicated 90% of our gun homicides are drug-related. So, my guess is that if you made gun owership illegal, it would go about as well as the “War on Drugs” How is that going BTW?Since it is illegal for anyone under 18 to own/possess a firearm it would seem that the criminal element has found a way to subvert the existing laws.

  4. I would think that while this article is about Canada’s problem with urban violence the author’s basic premise holds true. The title is “Blame Urban Culture, not Urban Guns”A sensible article on guns….shockingly it is in the Canadian National Post. Excerpt: http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/columnists/story.html?id=72b86eaa-5af0-4c55-a037-6bedf00b8161 “Apparently, the problem couldn’t be the prevalence of father-absent upbringings in the Jane-Finch area of Toronto, or the glorification of gangsta, drug and gun culture that liberals and social democrats such as Mr. Miller have been loathe to denounce out of a politically correct fear of being called racists. Nor could it be the every-boy-a-good-boy approach to juvenile crime, also favoured by the Millers of the world, that has eliminated nearly all punishment for young offenders in favour of touchy-feely counselling that hardened young criminals — such as those who would shoot down a student in the hallway of a high school–just scoff at. It couldn’t be the way courts have hamstrung police investigations or lefty city councils have pared back police budgets and reassigned beat patrol officers to traffic safety campaigns and police- minority relations teams. Nope. If we follow Mayor Miller’s logic, the only reason Jordan Manners is dead is the federal Conservatives’ unwillingness to ban handguns.” End quote

  5. Shabbat Shalom Jill,Do the studies differentiate between legal/registered firearms and illegal firearms?B’shalom,Jeffp.s. my moderation jumble of letters this time is jewgiz. Go figure.

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