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New Study: Marion County Among Top 1% of Most Violent Counties in America

Worst 1% of counties, including Marion County, account for 37% of all murders in U.S.

In a new study by John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D., President of the Crime Prevention Research Center, Marion County, Indiana was identified as being in the top one percent of all counties in the U.S. based on number of murders during 2014, the last year for which nationwide statistics are available at the county level.  In his study, entitled "The Geographical Concentration of Murders," Lott found that Marion County, with 135 murders, had the dubious distinction of being among the top one percent of the deadliest counties in the nation.

According to the study, 54% of counties in the U.S. had zero murders, 69% had at most one murder, and 76% had at most two murders. Only the top four percent of counties had 16 or more murders and only the top one percent had 100 or more.  Los Angeles County, with 526 murders in 2014, had the most of any county.

The worst five percent of counties account for 68% of murders.  The worst two percent of counties alone account for the majority of murders - 51%.

The study also shows that population density is not the only factor in examining murder rates.  The worst one percent of counties contain 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties (that account for 68% of murders) contain only 47% of the population.  In 2014, the murder rate for the entire U.S. was 4.4 murders per 100,000 people.  If the deadliest five percent of U.S. counties are excluded, the murder rate would decline to only 2.56 per 100,000 people.  

In an interview with Fox News, Lott commented, "It is stunning how concentrated murders are in the U.S.  And we show that even within these counties, with all these high rates, murders are very concentrated." With reference to Marion County specifically, his study notes that of the 135 murders that occurred in 2014, only four occurred outside of I-465.

Lott's study also examined gun ownership and noted that despite less guns owned overall in urban areas, those areas experience much higher murder rates.  The study noted that in the 54% of counties with zero murders, those counties had "very high gun ownership rates."  

Listen to "The Gun Guy Show" on Saturday, May 6 at 5:00 pm as Dr. Lott Joins me to discuss his study in more detail and what it means for Indianapolis residents.

Guy A. Relford

Guy A. Relford is a Second Amendment attorney in Carmel, Indiana.  He is also the owner and chief instructor of Tactical Firearms Training, LLC in Indianapolis and the author of “Gun Safety & Cleaning for Dummies” (Wiley & Sons Publications, 2012).  He hosts “The Gun Guy with Guy Relford” on WIBC radio in Indianapolis.

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