STUDY: Most Homicides in U.S. Occurred in 5 Percent of Counties

– The Washington Times – Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The homicide rate may be rising in some U.S. cities, but slayings are still a localized phenomenon, with most U.S. counties not seeing a single homicide in 2014.

The vast majority of homicides occurred in just 5 percent of counties, and even there the murders were localized, with some neighborhoods untouched by the violence, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Crime Prevention Research Center.

“I just think most people have a real misunderstanding about how heavily concentrated murders are,” said John R. Lott Jr., the author of the study. “You have over half the murders in the United States taking place in 2 percent of the counties.”


President Trump vowed in his inaugural address to end “American carnage” in the nation, especially in crime-ridden inner cities, and the report offers more data points that depict a distinct urban-rural divide in the U.S.

About 70 percent of the counties, accounting for 20 percent of the U.S. population, had no more than one murder in 2014, with 54 percent of counties experiencing zero murders, the report found.

Meanwhile, 5 percent of the counties, which made up nearly half the population, accounted for more than two-thirds of murders in the country, with the highest numbers concentrated in areas around major cities like Chicago and Baltimore.