Monday, November 2, 2009

London Compared to Baltimore

The Times On Line published an article debunking the comparison of London to Baltimore. (Via Laci)

The country’s most senior policeman has rebuffed the political fashion for likening Britain’s inner cities to The Wire, the critically acclaimed American drama.

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said that the annual murder rate in London was two deaths per 100,000 of the population — compared with 35 per 100,000 in Baltimore, where the gritty gangland series is set.

I don't think anyone is saying that violence is non-existent in England. On the contrary, it's serious business.

Murders account for a small proportion of the shootings but detectives have noted a rise in attacks intended to injure or intimidate — ranging from wounding in the legs and buttocks to shooting at homes and cars.

Commander Martin Hewitt told The Times: “We are seeing more lower limb woundings than before. Sometimes that is due to the gunman being a poor shot or the weapon being a poor and inaccurate conversion. But some shootings are deliberately trying not to kill — they are about making a point, intimidating someone, being seen to be doing something.”

That's a frightening picture of what's going on there, but I would imagine if you compared incidents of purposeful wounding between London and Baltimore, you'd have about the same proportion as you do with murders. What do you think?

I've heard so much about the substitution of knives for guns, as if that has made up for the difference. What do you think? Are pro-gun advocates in America so defensive about their position that they have to deny obvious and straightforward facts? Guns are more lethal than knives, period.

Murder rates per 100,000 population

133 Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

130 Caracas, Venezuela

67 New Orleans

62 Cape Town

35 Baltimore

6 New York

2 London

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. "Are pro-gun advocates in America so defensive about their position that they have to deny obvious and straightforward facts? "

    ummm, which side is doing that again?

  2. i live in Baltimore, and i see this every day.

    Baltimore is a dangerous place to live, but not to the degree shown on The Wire. the majority of the gun violence is criminal on criminal. in fact, most of the assault on innocent folks involves other weapons: fists, blunt objects, knives. only lately have things gotten a little out of hand, and i'd blame the economical situation first and foremost - put a lot of people under a lot of stress for a significant amount of time, and they'll snap. they'll act out on other people and they'll use whatever weapons are at hand.

  3. Lets see, Mexico, Venzuela, and South Africa all have rather strict gun control that would make places like Baltimore and New York look like NRA havens.

    Its almost as if the gun laws have nothing to do with violence.

  4. There is a widely held myth that shooting or stabbing someone in the leg cannot kill them,

    Of course it is not true - a severed artery can cause fatal bleeding . I've dealt with a case where that happened.

  5. I can give first hand observations about Baltimore as I live and work in the area.

    Crime in areas like Federal Hill and the Inner Harbor are very low due to high police presence and rapid response when crime does occur.

    Most violent crime is simply felon on felon. I can not back up the numbers, but of that 35/100,000 murder rate, I would say 90% plus is simply thug on thug to which the police will only repsond well after the fact to clean up the mess.

    The city court system is a revolving door. The police are very aware of this. If you look at specific areas (within the city)where the violence occurs, you can easily conclude that the police just simply won't risk life and limb to protect a felon.

    In the "safe" areas, the property taxes are high in comparison to those in the crime areas. I call it "protection money".

  6. "Lets see, Mexico, Venzuela, and South Africa all have rather strict gun control that would make places like Baltimore and New York look like NRA havens."

    Yes but Remember 90% of the guns in those countries come from American Gun that's our lax laws again!

  7. England's crime rate has always been lower than the US, even when gun laws were similar--Based on that, I would think it obvious that guns are not the primary factor.

    What is relevant: The US is reducing restrictions on guns, crime rate is going down. England is increasing restrictions, their rate is going up. Somehow this is considered evidence that gun laws reduce crime.

  8. Who's ever argued that guns aren't more lethal than knives? If we could magically make all firearms and the knowledge of how to make firearms disappear from civilization, would the murder rate drop because bladed weapons aren't as lethal? Probably.

    But it takes strength and fighting skill to ward off an attacker with a bladed instrument. Even going up against an untrained knife fighter, distances are close enough you're probably going to get stabbed. That's why when all we had were bladed instruments, people carried swords. But swordplay takes skill and strength as well.

    The argument not that knives are more effective than firearms, it's that knives are harder to protect yourself with. A 70 year old man is going to lose a knife fight with a 20 something year old criminal. A firearm is the only instrument where the weak have a chance.

  9. MikeB - I've gotta say your buddy Laci's attacks on Kurt Hoffman surpass even your ability to make yourself look bad.

    You and Laci do the pro-gun side a favor with every post.

    BTW - 45superman refers to .45 Super caliber not "Superman" from the comics, though I understand that with Laci we're dealing with someone with a serious lack of cognitive ability, not to mention serious anger & emotional issues.