The Statistical Corner

The annual tally of murders in Mexico for 2009 was 2,657 in Juárez, and 3250 in Chihuahua, and 7,724 for all of Mexico.

The tally so far for Juárez in 2010 is a stunning 38 (fourteen of whom were killed on Monday). It is January 5.

Thinking globally but murdering locally, Norfolk leads The 757 in the murder rate, jumping from 29 in 2008 to 43 in 2009. While that is how many people have been killed in five days in Juárez, it is still completel, utterly crazy.

all of the news at the end of the year was about the falling crime and violence rates in the U.S., but I saw virtually no mention that maybe this means we can switch gears as a country. Except for this great editorial in the Des Moines Register calling for a reassessment. (But, seriously, who the hell reads the Des Moines Register?)

fyi: Des Moines is in Iowa.

The Register wrote:

"For decades, politicians have exploited public anxiety about crime to enact increasingly tougher laws and longer prison sentences. Prosecutors have risen to the challenge. As a result, the United States has more than 7 million men and women under some form of corrections supervision, with 2.3 million of them in prison.

Declining crime rates present an opportunity to dial back the "get tough on crime" rhetoric, scale back unreasonable criminal sentences and reduce prison populations. That will allow states to spend public resources on more effective programs that help lead criminal offenders to productive lives....

...As it is, the current rate of imprisonment is unsustainable, and contributes to many states' budget crises. We must adopt more effective approaches to steering offenders away from self-destructive behavior that leads to crime, including drug and alcohol abuse. Focus on the economic and educational roots of crime, and the increasingly apparent role of mental illness.

This change is long overdue, and there is no better climate for it to happen than now, when falling crime rates should remove politicians' fear of being labeled soft on crime."


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