The majority of murders in the U.S. occur in only a small percentage of counties across the country.
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The Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) said in a new report that there is a “geographical concentration” of murders, with 68 percent of killings occurring in just 5 percent of the nation’s counties. The homicides also tend to be concentrated to relatively small pockets of those counties, the report said.
“It is stunning how concentrated murders are in the U.S.,” John Lott, president of the CPRC said to Fox News. “And we show that even within these counties, with all these high rates, murders are very concentrated.”
“These high [rate] counties have very large areas where there are no murders.”
In 2014, the U.S. murder rate was 4.4 per 100,000 people, according to the data of the report. If the deadliest 5 percent of the counties were removed, the U.S. murder rate would be 2.56 per 100,000 people, the report showed.
More than half of last year’s murders occurred in only 2 percent of the nation’s counties.
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Looking at the historical data, the CPRC said that murders were even more geographically concentrated in decades past. On average, 73 percent of counties in any given year had zero murders from 1977 to 2000.
Take for example Los Angeles County, which had 526 murders in 2014 -- the most of any other county in the U.S. But parts of L.A. County, including Beverly Hills, Hawthorne and Van Nuys, had virtually no murders that year.
Indianapolis, Indiana had 135 murders but only four occurred outside of the 465 highway loop that encircles the downtown area.
Washington, D.C. has large swaths without a single recorded murder. The study found that murders were overwhelmingly limited to the eastern half of Washington, D.C.
One of the most interesting findings in the report is that areas with the highest gun ownership rates have low murder rates.
“While many factors explain these concentrated murders, it is also striking that the counties with zero murders are the counties with by far the highest gun ownership rates,” Lott said.
The report’s authors also looked at numbers from a 2013 REW Research Center survey, which found that the household gun ownership rate in rural areas was over two times greater than in urban areas. That study also found that suburban homeowners are 28 percent more likely to own guns than urban dwellers.