We need some perspective on violent crime

After every mass shooting, we hear about how video games are contributing to such horrifying events. But violent crime has fallen dramatically since the mid 1990’s, while violent video games have gotten more common and graphics have allowed more detailed depictions of killings in the games. The trend lines have gone in opposite directions.

Since I might get heat for what I said here on video games specifically, the point I am making here is the same point I have made many times before: That we need to have some perspective about violent crime.

  • In the year 1993, we had a population of 257,782,608 people. There were 24,526 murders, 106,014 forcible rapes and 659,870 robberies.
  • In the year 2017, we had a population of 325,719,178 people. There were 17,284 murders, 99,856 forcible rapes and 319,356 robberies.

Not only is violent crime significantly lower than it was in the early 1990’s, the crime rate is lower still because we have less crime and a significantly larger population. The fearmongering over violent crime is unwarranted given crime statistics over the last 25 years.

Now, should we be concerned about mass shootings? Yes. Should we look at ways to identify dangerous individuals before they snap and start killing people? Yes. Murder is awful, and mass murder is worse. But the fact is that we are statistically safer now than we have been in generations.

Over-inflating the problem is counterproductive and leads to a loss of liberty as the nanny state looks to get even bigger. It leads to not only easy scapegoating of media, but it leads to things like police militarization, excessive mandatory minimum sentences, and restrictions on due process.

Yes, obviously we should look at what can be done to prevent mass shootings and harden targets against mass shootings, but our streets are not a war zone. We are not living in Beirut in 1983, and we need to stop pretending that is the case. Have some perspective.