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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sinbad2's picture

This isn't rocket science, the poorer the neighbourhood the higher the crime, in urban areas.

Megaton Jim's picture

More like the BLACKER the neighborhood, the more crime there is!

ilw4e's picture

The whole interpretation of the article is misleading. Worst 5% have 47% population and have 68% murders, this isn't a shocking number. It only shows that cities have higher crime rate, which should be a common sense.

And it even tries to argue about gun ownership doesn't matter, but  wait, people buy guns for hunting in the countries, on the other hand, gangsters in the cities buy guns for killing each other's. So it's a total misleading argument which took some random statistic numbers to tell a story, but didn't even think about the true meanings of the numbers.

Rakksan's picture

Big cities=Kneegrows.

didthatreallyhappen's picture

apparently, you are ok with this:


people buy guns for hunting in the countries, on the other hand, gangsters in the cities buy guns for killing each other's

ronaldwilsonreagan's picture

We need more guns on the streets of America! Instead of welfare and food stamps we need free guns for poor people and ammunition should be subsidized by the government so that the higher caliber ammunition becomes more affordable. Being able to go on a killing spree because we are upset that our ex girlfriend left with another women is as American as bombing the shit out of brown people all over the globe. Executing people in cold blood with a bullet to the head is what makes us free and exceptional.

didthatreallyhappen's picture

its a democrat thing.  why do democrats commit the the majority of crime, it isn't "only" murder

ronaldwilsonreagan's picture

Actually I am pretty sure it is a n angry white male thing, always a male and as fucking typical you have absolutely ZERO data to back up such a claim. Go ahead fucktard find me a women shooter. You are the sound of a trumptard talking out of his Vagina.

Vilfredo Pareto's picture

Oh it is an angry male thing, but the demographics of murder are not disproportionately white.

jughead's picture

angry white males are why angry black males commit the majority of the murders...far exceeding their small percentage of the population.  Gotcha...thanks for confirming you are a fucking moron with your own words, removing whatever doubt there may have been.  Go find a safe space and jack off, asshole. 

FrankDrakman's picture

Go find a safe space and jack off, asshole. 

The problem with your position is you assume he has a dick. 

didthatreallyhappen's picture

lmao, you just proved:

  1. you are an effeminate liberal
  2. you wish you had a vagina
  4. John R. Lott, Jr. - More Guns, Less Crime.  Read it you cocksucking piece of shit
knotjammin2's picture

Lay off the crack.  These folks doing the murders will soon be coming for you.  

stecha's picture

Well in my state i get to shoot first and ask questions later. So lettem come.

OCnStiggs's picture

ronaldwilsonreagan= Soros Blogger

Vilfredo Pareto's picture

I see the murder rate as merely an abstraction.


It doesn't affect me or other people who live outside of murder capitals.   I haven't committed any murders either.   Therefore the solution cannot involve restricting my rights or inconveniencing me. 

Disgruntled Goat's picture

Coincidentaly, these 2% of counties also have a majority negro population.

stecha's picture

all of them have been liberal run counties for years. Its 100% political..

venturen's picture

what percent of these are hispanic or black and Democrat....my guess 100%

silverer's picture

Inner city culture. "Forward!".

sister tika's picture

Most violence 'perpetrated' right there in southern Mexifornia. Who woulda thunk? Oakland has to be the asshole of the world, or very high on the list.

sparkplug's picture

Oakland is in the Bay Area, not Southern California.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

white folk, come to baltimore and enjoy the rich black culture..all you obuma voters are very very welcome- the party starts each night at 1 AM.".the heart of darkness" has a new home town.

YourAverageJoe's picture

How many of these metropolitan murder hot spots have a MLK Blvd. running through them?

Common_Cents22's picture

what's really shocking? 47% of the population live in 5% of the counties.       major control problems.  sitting ducks.

look on the bright side.   when the purge comes.........it will be a great purge in urban areas from riots, robbery etc....   if you live in a big city.    GTFO now!

after 30-60 days of some "emp" disaster or similar, esp with water being cut off.......there will be plenty of room for the rest of us flyover schmoes.


the test case to study, new orleans katrina.   things go ape shit in just a few days.    it'll only take 30 to max 60 days for a huge transformation.

OCnStiggs's picture

The die-off in "Liberal America" will be enormous.

SybilDefense's picture

If you are uneducated you have to take to survive.  If you are unfathered you are less likely to understand the need for education.  It's not a blacks like to murder thing.  It's a blacks often are unparented = poor education = affluence thru illegal activities = survival thing.  Without a commitment from blacks for blacks, the circle will be unbroken.  The Dems promote this circle to maintain control of a race they claim to stand for.  I'm sure you'd be surprised by what they feel about gays, transgender etc etc etc.  Oh yah, we know.  It was on Hillaries server from Dear John Podesta.  

CRM114's picture

Not so, it's just that you have to work a lot harder to survive if you stay honest.

RathdrumGal's picture

I do not believe that if you are poor you have to take to survive, but I do believe the propensity to murder or commit crime is more a class than a race thing.  I have known too many good people of different races to believe otherwise.

Be interesting to overlay the murder map with a map of CHURCH ATTENDENCE.  What ever happened to the designation "poor, but honest"?


HomelessPatriot's picture

I knew it, obvious Amish enclaves!!

CRM114's picture


They aren't tilling the fields with those shovels, they are hiding the bodies!! ;)

CRM114's picture

Where I am  in Canada, not only are there zero murders in half the years, but the murders that do occur are solely intra-family or 'crime passionelle'. In other words, no stranger murders. This also leads to a 100% clear-up rate.

I would be interested to know if this is also true of much of the USA, and that therefore only very few counties in the US actually experience stranger murders.

This would also explain the strong reaction to the globalist "You just have to accept terrorism", for that is also a 'stranger murder' which I expect the vast majority are wholly inexperienced with and completely against.

wdg's picture
Great article. What is missing is the demographic profile of the 2% of counties that commit 51% of the murders. We all no the anwer but it would have been nice if this was presented by John Lott since he clearly has the documentation.  51% Of Murders In The U.S. Come From Just 2% Of The Counties. 
FrankDrakman's picture

yes, I too was looking for a piece of demographic information, specifically "Where the niggers at?". 

snodgrass's picture

The high crime areas are dominated by hispanics and blacks. No surprise. They are enabled by the media and Democrats who are nothing but a criminal organization.

naro's picture

The murder rate is directly proportional to the number of blacks in the population.  Nothing more and nothing less.

cui-bono's picture

Hmmmmmmmm. I thought diversity is our greatest strength.
The NBA, NFL,rap music, and Black History Month add sooooo much to our culture!

brushhog's picture

I moved to a rural, white ( 98% white ) county. The average househld income is below the poverty line. Some of these people are POOR, old school poor, like literally living in shacks with a blanket for a door. Murder rate ZERO. Nobody locks their doors. You could walk up to any house and open the door ( good chance you'll be shot but you could do it ). In-laws think Im silly because I always lock the door, I cant sleep with unlocked doors...too many years in a mixed urban neighborhood.

Aubiekong's picture

And in the 2% counties 98% voted for Obama and Clinton...  Let them burn...

Dead Indiana Sky's picture

I believe the term is "no-go zones".

JustPastPeacefield's picture

I bet Pelosi and the Democrats have a program to fix this problem that starts with educating Whites on how their racism causes inner-city murder and ends with a new government agency staffed with lilly-white liberal college pricks who are so much better than the unwashed out there in rural America, where they don't commit murder as a daily sport.

Same old story. We all know who commits the murders. We must never speak this truth though. PC America. Whatever. 

insanelysane's picture

Cognitive Dissonance #8

Problem: A small percentage of guns are used to commit murder.  Answer: Ban all guns.

Problem: A small percentage of immigrants commit terrorist acts.  Answer: Let everyone in as there are only a small percentage of trouble makers.

CRM114's picture

These are not examples of Cognitive Dissonance, but of a less technical condition known as Fucking Stupid.

Sick Underbelly's picture

If you want to compare the election results to the first image at the top of the article, go to this page:

Election Results in the Third Dimension


It helps to see the MAGNITUDE of the counties, or, in other words, the NUMBER of BLUE vs RED voters, in a bar or 3-D column.  Among other things, the page details maps of "weightedness", showing how disproportionately MORE people live along the coasts AND vote blue:

For example, L.A. County alone has a population of over 10 million. That’s more than the combined population of 10 entire states. Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming together have a total population of just over 9 million.

For those of you able to do it, you can download the Crimes per County .xls here.  Then, you need Python to download and parse the 2016 election results per county spreadsheet from Mark Kearney.   Then, you can match the FIPS codes in both.

With the Prism graph from the metrocosm link, side-by-side with the CPRC heat-map, it's pretty clear: where the crime is high, the county is most likely blue.


Edit:   Here's a Census.gov "The Black Population: 2010" with heat maps to a county level.  Go to page 13, or look for Figure 6.   A little bit of "GOTCHA" for the southern states.

"The Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010" is almost a GOTCHA when you look at % change of Hispanics and minorities from 2000 to 2010.   Compare that graph with Figure 5 "Hispanic or Latino Population as a Percent of Total Population by County: 2010"  in "The Hispanic Population: 2010"

White ladies and germs, it appears Hispanics and Blacks don't like inhabiting the northern border states.


Still Losing Money's picture

White ladies and germs, it appears Hispanics and Blacks don't like inhabiting the northern border states. - because cold weather, no welfare and no race baiting grievance industry to give them ready made excuses

Still Losing Money's picture

 Possibly, this change is a result of the opioid epidemic’s spread to more rural areas.

how is this posible, I thought drugs were cool and should be legalized?

Montana Cowboy's picture

There is no evidence that drugs cause crime. Its the price of the drugs that cause crime. Legalize them and the price drops and the crime stops. There is plenty of evidence from countries that did this.