51% Of Murders In The U.S. Come From Just 2% Of The Counties

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by John R. Lott, Jr. via Crime Prevention Research Center


The Distribution of Murders

The United States can really be divided up into three types of places. Places where there are no murders, places where there are a few murders, and places where murders are very common.

In 2014, the most recent year that a county level breakdown is available, 54% of counties (with 11% of the population) have no murders.  69% of counties have no more than one murder, and about 20% of the population. These counties account for only 4% of all murders in the country.

The worst 1% of counties have 19% of the population and 37% of the murders. The worst 5% of counties contain 47% of the population and account for 68% of murders. As shown in figure 2, over half of murders occurred in only 2% of counties.

Murders actually used to be even more concentrated.  From 1977 to 2000, on average 73 percent of counties in any give year had zero murders. Possibly, this change is a result of the opioid epidemic’s spread to more rural areas. But that question is beyond the scope of this study.  Lott’s book “More Guns, Less Crime” showed how dramatically counties within states vary dramatically with respect to murder and other violent crime rates.



Breaking down the most dangerous counties in Figure 2 shows over half the murders occur in just 2% of the counties, 37% in just the worst 1% of the counties.


Figure 1 illustrates how few counties have a significant number of murders. Figure 3 further illustrates that with a cumulative perspective. 54% of counties have zero murders, 69% have at most one murder, 76% have at most two murders, and so on. To put it differently, only the top four percent of the counties have 16 or more murders.

If the 1% of the counties with the worst number of murders somehow were to become a separate country, the murder rate in the rest of the US would have been only 3.4 in 2014. Removing the worst 2% or 5% would have reduced the US rate to just 3.06 or 2.56 per 100,000, respectively.


Even within the Counties with the murders, the murders are heavily Concentrated within those counties

When you look at individual counties with a high number of murders, you find large areas with few murders. Take Los Angeles County, with 526 murders in 2014, the most of any county in the US. The county has virtually no murders in the northwestern part of the county. There was only one murder each in Beverly Hills, Hawthorne, and Van Nuys. Clearly, different parts of the county face very different risks of murder.


The map below shows the distribution of murders in Indianapolis, with 135 murders. Although the city extends well beyond the 465 Highway that encircles downtown Indianapolis, there are only four murders outside of that loop. The northern half of the city within 465 also has relatively few murders.


Washington, DC has large areas without murders. 14th Street NW divides the eastern and western parts of the district, with murders overwhelmingly limited to the eastern half. The area around the capitol is also extremely safe.


Here is the murder map for Dallas.


Gun Ownership

According to a 2013 PEW Research Center survey, the household gun ownership rate in rural areas was 2.11 times greater than in urban areas (“Why Own a Gun? Protection is Now Top Reason,” PEW Research Center, March 12, 2013).   Suburban households are 28.6% more likely to own guns than urban households. Despite lower gun ownership, urban areas experience much higher murder rates. One should not put much weight on this purely “cross-sectional” evidence over one point in time, but it is still interesting to note that so much of the country has both very high gun ownership rates and zero murders.


This study shows how murders in the United States are heavily concentrated in very small areas. Few appreciate how much of the US has no murders each year.  Murder isn’t a nationwide problem.  It’s a problem in a very small set of urban areas, and any solution must reduce those murders.

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EndTheGodDamnFed's picture

How much Nuffin could a Dindu do if, 

A, Dindu, Dindu Nuffin how much Nuffin could,

A, Dindu, do if a Dindu Dindu Nuffin?

ClownBaby's picture

One town over from Niggerville

Pork Rind's picture

the murder graph is quite similar to the graph of a square root function

1.21 jigawatts's picture

And 70% of murders in the US come from just one race.

Yars Revenge's picture

And in the absence of meddling by a race that makes up 2% of the population, those 70% would still be quarantined from the rest of us.

AlbertthePudding's picture

Our regional police superintendant says that if they could put 20 people in the area behind bars we'd experience an 80% drop in the crime rate.

They can stamp it out if they are supported by the political establishment but then what would we be frightened of?

Number 9's picture

Ebola? snakes? da dreaded brown recluse? impotency?

tweakers sneaking into your house and taking your tv apart @ 3 am?

Yars Revenge's picture

I hear these 2% counties have a disproportionate number of inhabitants named Tyrone.

shadow54's picture

In LA county many are named Calos, Paco and J'esus

tyrone's picture

yeah? whats wrong with tyrone?

FrankDrakman's picture

Ya, Tyrone Shoelaces. 

Pork Rind's picture

We have the occasional murder in this small town, the murderer is always some negro import from Memphis

SonsOfLibertyReborn's picture

They also come from 12% of the population whose ancestors just happen to be from Africa, not Europe. Almost like there is a predisposition towards anti-civilizational traits dominant in African genes?.....



sparkplug's picture

Centuries removed from the jungles of Africa but still carry the mentality of violence and chaos. Decades of peace rallies, community centers, public funding, etc have done nothing. They still carry the mentality of tribal warfare. When the Europeans went to Africa 500 years ago to get slaves these people were living in mud huts and fighting amongst each other. Has anything changed? Not really. This behavior is in their blood.

truthbeknown's picture

Its age old generations of poverty, streets of little hope in those counties.

Now the blue collar whites are dying in growing  numbers in other counties.--more poverty, drugs, hopelessness.

Same same.

Ace006's picture

Poverty. Yes, that's it. That mystifying condition. If only there would be no poverty.

any_mouse's picture

Small town, rural America has been strip mined by corporate America.

Driving off the Interstate through SW Kansas into SE Colorado. Small farming towns. The main street small business buildings still stand. Empty. Ghost towns.

Holes in the fabric of a nation.

Ageda 21?

besnook's picture

yea, we kind of know that but thanks for drilling down on it, but who is actually shooting who. these aren't lover's quarrels. how many are crime related and how many are simple arguments out of control, alcohol involved, meth head argument.

if the majority of these killings are gang related and the gangs communicate with pretty body art than why not use the patriiot act to do something patriotic with it and call any urban gang a terrorist .org and take them all in and incarcerate them forever. no one in .govever thinks about the positive possibilities of population surveillance and control apparatus.

Duc888's picture



I say issue firearms to all adults over 18 in those areas and let them figure shit out.

saldulilem's picture

Funny, in the UK all murders seem to happen in the villages of Midsomer county.

FrankDrakman's picture

That's a funny comment, but most ZH readers won't get the reference. Have an upvote!

ClownBaby's picture

But if they just got some reparations everything would be okay. /s

bigrooster's picture

At least they used black for the dots to represent the color of the people doing all of the killing!

garthbartham's picture

This sounds like something ol' Paul Kersey would be posting over at SBPDL.

TheEndIsNear's picture

"Despite lower gun ownership, urban areas experience much higher murder rates."

Despite??? Lott's whole point of his book "More Guns = Less Crime" was that murders are inversely proportional to the percentage of people who own firearms. In the area where I live, *everyone* owns firearms and no government or sheriff's permission (a CCW permit) is needed. There have been no murders in the entire state for as long as I can remember and none are shown in the map in the article.

bardot63's picture

"Despite lower gun ownership, urban areas experience much higher murder rates." 

My reaction exactly as yours.  What a dumb fucking stupid conclusion from a dumb fucking stupid study.   Conclusion should have read "Because of lower gun ownership"....not despite.....

Number 9's picture
UPDATE: The Portland Police have now arrested up to 24 rioters. The link is here.


lakecity55's picture

Are the 2% full of.......Negroes?

saldulilem's picture

No, they all went to college

saldulilem's picture

Did he mean 'homicide' though? cuz it ain't murder unless you've got a conviction.

Savyindallas's picture

These statistics are racist. Black and brown counties have far more murders despite having more prohibitions against guns. We need to ban guns in areas where white folks live. This will result in far more murders in white counties and causing far more white folks to get murdered--thus ending the racism that now exists. Racial justice and equality demands that more white folks die. 

blueskyranch's picture

You forgot the //sarc tag Dude

sister tika's picture

It's whitey's fault. Love the sarcasm.

YourAverageJoe's picture

I'm sure more than a few white South African farmers would agree with you.

Duc888's picture



Fucking asshole Irish-Americans...  oh wait.

Fucling shit-bag Italian Amiericans......oops

Conax's picture

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus and they aren't just like us.

BustainMovealota's picture

Damn Niggas at it again

Bernie Madolf's picture

$5 says the high incidence rate correlates r^2 .95 to low income areas with specific demographics

Sizzurp's picture

The problem is self evident, but it can never be spoken.

frontierland's picture


Sensible, Violent Gun Crime Policy:       Send the Negro back to his homeland.

frontierland's picture

To boil it down further:

In 2012, white males were 38 percent of the population and committed 4,582 murders. That same year, black males were just 6.6 percent of the population but committed a staggering 5,531 murders.

In other words: black people–at just a fifth of the size–committed almost 1,000 more murders than their white counterparts.



To be fair, I should point out the contribution of Hispanics...


gespiri's picture

That's not the solution.  You just need to fence them in and let them kill each other.  Give it a year and you wipe out the ones still standing.

gespiri's picture

Good for the funeral, firefighter, police, hospital, and first response industries.

RathdrumGal's picture

No -- not good for the hospitals!  We prefer patients who PAY their bills, and trauma patients can be very expensive cases.  Few have insurance, and they don't care, since drug dealers don't have to worry about the IRS fines!  Plus the trauma cases/gangbangers are all substance abusers so pain control is difficult (they are whinny) AND we have to put up with their over-dramatic families when they visit.  (And since no one works, the family visits ALL the time.)

Stoic farmers make great patients!  Cowboys make great patients!  But gangbangers make TERRIBLE patients.