Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hudson County Murders - Interactive Map

The site has a fascinating interactive map of the murders which took place in Hudson County in 2008, 36 in all. The details of each case were of particular interest to me for several reasons:

One, I graduated from St. Peter's College in Jersey City, just walking distance from most of the murder sites. I remember in the 80s, between the PATH train and the school, I was most impressed with the litter and debris left on the street and sidewalks. There was an awful degredation in the neighborhood. It seemed there was a large Egyptian population in the area.

Two, so many of the murders were by stabbing. One of the commenters in the article provided the count: more knife killings than gun killings. I must admit, I found this surprising; there were even several by strangulation.

Three, almost all of the names looked Hispanic.

What does it all mean? If I had to attend St. Peter's College today, twenty years later, would it be more dangerous than it was back then? Would I want to carry a gun? Perhaps.

On the other hand, perhaps 38 murders in Hudson County in one year is not all that big a deal. What do you think?


  1. "What do you think?"

    Ban guns good people get stabbed!

  2. Mike,

    Aren't you being a little callus there? 38 murders isn't that big of a deal?

    That is 38 families with loved ones gone, hundreds of peoples lives touched, maybe you only feel that way because stabbings were more prevalent then firearm deaths?

    Let's put this into perspective. The population of Hudson county is approximately 600,000; the population of Rome Italy is approximately 2,700,00.

    In 2006, Rome only had 30 murders...8 less then the much smaller Hudson county.

    If Rome had a murder rate as high as Hudson county, there would be about 172 murders a year there.

    I live in a town with half the population of Hudson county, there were only 14 murders here.

    Fort Worth, the city I work in had more murders then Hudson County -- 49.

    Now tell me again how I'm over-reacting by getting and using my concealed carry license.

  3. Your article proves something I've noted: that immigrant cultures need a lot more Sunday School with those Ten C's and the Golden Rule taught AND modeled to their children--like you said, you think Catholic ed. is good for YOUR children. While Hispanic culture is traditionally Catholic, how much relgious influence is there in the immigrant populations?

    Our kids are taught a song about the fruits of the Spirit,love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    The CLC I work in on Wed. nights (Christian Life Club of Free Methodist Churches) talked about New year's Resolutions last night to grades K-6 --and how the bible gives us some good ideas --and the leader had just one scripture that neatly targeted stealing, lying, bitterness (holding grudges), hating, slandering and so on. And she suggested we might make resolutions to avoid such behaviors and attitudes.

    Children listen and take these teachings to heart over time when good values are also modeled by adults in the church and schools if not in their homes.

    I knew a hispanic man very well --who taught his kids to shoplift and how to cheat to get in free at the theater by saying they were looking for a lost shoe. Such children need the outreach of churches --and moral teachings in the schools --to teach right from wrong that the father is confusing for them.

    PUBLIC SCHOOL was the melting/melding pot of US culture--and Christian ideals were taught (as in Catholic schools --though I don't think Catholics used the Bible as a text as much as in protestant culture--and we hear of past hypocrisey in their faculties/priesthood. Can't be good for the church.)

    Catholics harbored pedophiles and Mafia types and sanctified drinking and smoking which do not help the average parents to have good temperament and model the fruit of self-control in themselves.

    I favor the attempt at character education in schools --but I suspect it's a whole lot more effective when people feel accountable, by the addition of home and church teaching, to a Holy God of Eternity. Christianity teaches the equality of persons and the value of humility --combatting the natural human trait of selfishness/self-interest over others. That's why we have gone all over the world with our doctrines, our hospitals and schools --why we give more to others than any other nation historically.

    No church is exempt from the possibility of egregious sins in their leadership and laity --but some seem to do a better job than others of preaching Biblical values and living them and inculcating them in future generations.

  4. Let me hasten to add that I do know another Hispanic family very well --who are exemplary Catholics, the parents --good people and devout in faith. But I don't think the Catholic church has been as effectual in Hispanic cultures overall with Biblical values --as the protestant church-going culture has been in America.
    I'm looking at the crime and incarceration rates.

  5. Mike,

    I just noticed a couple of things about that map.

    First Newark is just across the way so I was curious about its murder What a shock, I thought Fort Worth was bad.

    Newark Murder Rate dropped 30 percent

    From the article:
    Newark recorded 67 homicides in 2008, according to the police, the fewest since 2002, when there were 65. In 2007, there were 97 homicides; in 2006, just over 100.

    For the record the 2006 number was 105 murders...for a population of 281,402 in 2006.

    Those 67 murders represent a rate of 23.8 per 100,000. Fort Worth has a rate of 7.18 per 100,000 (population 681,818)

    Now it seems to me that if gun control works, we should be able to see quickly which areas have the strictest gun control laws.

    I went to a biased source for comparison. Brady Campaign State Rankings

    New Jersey has some of the strictest laws...earning it the #2 ranking (higher is better in terms of gun control) while poor Texas ranks only #29.

    So what should people about what the police director in Newark did?

    Around City Hall, the police director, Garry F. McCarthy, is credited with putting into effect policies that may have helped to achieve the reduction in homicide rates since he was appointed in 2006. The strategies of Mr. McCarthy, a former New York City police commander, have included closer monitoring of drug dealers and violent offenders and responding to more quality-of-life issues like noise and vandalism.

    So, does gun control work and if it doesn't, should we keep trying to the same thing over and over again, expecting different results?

    Or maybe we should change directions, allow more people the right to defend themselves, see if that reduces the homicide rate?

  6. Bob said, "Aren't you being a little callus there? 38 murders isn't that big of a deal?"

    Aren't you the same guy who used to say that 20,000 gun murders a year was nothing compared to the numbers of guns there are in total?

    Besides, in this post I was only asking the question. I'm not callous at all.

  7. Mike,

    Yes, but you have the details wrong.
    I wasn't saying that 20,000 homicides was a small deal. I was saying that out of all the firearms only a small portion were used to commit murder. Big difference!

    I notice that you avoided addressing the murder rates of Hudson County and Newark.

    Do you realize if Rome (pop. 2.7 Million-left off zero earlier) had the murder rate of Newark, there would be 642 murders.

    Tell me how effective gun control is again?

    Mike, it's not the firearms but how they are used. Texas has less stringent control laws. It is perfectly legal to keep a concealed handgun in your car, how many reports of road rage incidents do you find?
    Now, go back and look at the vast number of murders using firearms. Don't most of the victims have a past criminal record?

    Perhaps it is the culture in which they are raised that makes more of a difference then the availability of firearms, eh?

  8. "Aren't you the same guy who used to say that 20,000 gun murders a year was nothing compared to the numbers of guns there are in total?"

    First off it's around 13,000. And that's ONLY a small number when pointing out how many lives guns SAVE (I like the VERY conservative 100,000....tho again, there are studies that place it north of 1 million. I'm pretty suspect of that study *mostly because the data was collected in phone interviews, and it was funded mostly by the NRA* but I'm also suspect that 100,000 is a low-ball, and even THEN it supports my cause, and strengthens my argument, and deeply wounds yours, Mike)

    And as Bob points out, it seems that the vast majority of these hot spots happen in some of the most "Utopian" havens for gun control...oh and their non-gun murder rates are sky high as well.

    So in my eyes, Mike, you're paying lots of attention to people who died, and to the monsters who killed them...and totally ignoring people who are still living because the monster ran off when he realized the odds weren't in his favor.

    Then in the same breath you call for laws that help avoid that 2nd scenario! YIKES!


    More Grist. Make sure to read the comment afterwards. A reader who used a gun defensively, and the cops were too busy to bother with filing a report. This would be one of those defensive gun uses that simply doesn't exist as far as the numbers are concerned.