Correlating cities’ murder rates with political party dominance

Neighborhood Scout has just published a list of ‘the Top 30 Murder Capitals of America‘ for 2015.  It makes interesting reading, particularly if one goes down the list and checks out the party affiliation of the Mayor of each city (which I’ve just done).  From 30th to 1st place, the list reads like this:

30 – Baton Rouge, LA – Mayor Kip Holden (D)
29 – Youngstown, OH –
Mayor John McNally IV (D)
28 – San Bernardino, CA –
Mayor R. Carey Davis (R)
27 – Oakland, CA –
Mayor Libby Schaaf (D)
26 – Barberton, OH –
Mayor William Judge (D)
25 – Poughkeepsie, NY –
Mayor John C. Tkazyik (R)
24 – Cincinnati, OH –
Mayor John Cranley (D)
23 – Petersburg, VA –
Mayor W. Howard Myers (D)
22 – Wilmington, DE –
Mayor Dennis P. Williams (D)
21 – York, PA –
Mayor Kim Bracey (D)
20 – East Palo Alto, CA –
Mayor Donna Rutherford (D)
19 – Jackson, MS –
Mayor Tony Yarber (D)
18 – Wilkes-Barre, PA –
Mayor Thomas M. Leighton (D)
17 – Birmingham, AL –
Mayor William A. Bell (D)
16 – East Point, GA –
Mayor Jannquell Peters (D)
15 – East Chicago, IN –
Mayor Anthony Copeland (D)
14 – Compton, CA –
Mayor Aja Brown (D)
13 – Baltimore, MD –
Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake (D)
12 – St. Louis, MO –
Mayor Francis G. Slay (D)
11 – Harvey, IL –
Mayor Eric J. Kellogg (D)
10 – Newark, NJ –
Mayor Ras J. Baraka (D)
9 – New Orleans, LA –
Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D)
8 – Trenton, NJ –
Mayor Eric Jackson (D)
7 – Detroit, MI –
Mayor Mike Duggan (D)
6 – Flint, MI –
Mayor Karen Weaver (D)
5 – Saginaw, MI –
Mayor Dennis Browning
4 – Chester, PA –
Mayor John Linder (D)
3 – Gary, IN –
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson (D)
2 – Camden, NJ –
Mayor Dana Redd (D)
1 – East St. Louis, IL –
Mayor Emeka-Jackson Hicks (D)

Notice anything?  I did.  28 out of the top 30 ‘murder capitals’ – and all of the top 24 – have mayors who belong to the Democratic Party.  They say that correlation is not causation, and in general I agree:  but that degree of correlation between the dominant political party in each city, and the crime rate in each city, is hard to explain away, IMHO.  Draw your own conclusions.



  1. I'd say the likely explanation is that most of the cities with the highest murder rates have substantial minority populations and minorities usually vote Democratic.


  2. Actually, I'd argue that it's even worse.

    Number 25 is Poughkeepsie, NY. It makes the list mainly because of population size. They had 7 murders. One murder less would lower their number by 15% and and they would drop of the list.
    According to they typically have 3-5 murders, so 7 was a temporary spike.

    Number 28 is San Bernardino with 46 murders. 14 of those was in the wellknown incident where there is "no known motive". That's about 30% of the total. Without that one incident, they would also drop off the list.
    According to they usually have between 30-50 murders a year, so 46 is a high number.

    I dont know which cities are 31 and 32, but it's not impossible that without those two spikes the list could be a one party list.

  3. Arguably it would be easier to argue the correlation/causation angle if one were to determine just how long those cities were under Democrat control.

    Nipping the '..but he inherited the problem…' argument in the bud as it were.

  4. From the article:

    "Misinformed reporting may be to blame as well — using murder counts instead of murder rates, the later which normalize for population size and provide a better indication of your chance of becoming a victim compared to simple counts, which are generally just higher in bigger cities.

    "Big cities can have more murders than small cities, but not as a rate per population. This NeighborhoodScout report factors in population size to determine the number of murders in each city per 1,000 people, thereby normalizing for population and more clearly representing the risk to residents of a city."

    So yeah, Chicago is missing because that murder rate (as high as it is) is lower as a rate per population than cities in their list.

  5. we live in youngstown, where the 'minority' is a huge majority.
    you hear gunshots all the time, esp. at night.
    people coming out of church are shot in cold blood, or driving down the road, all this in broad daylight.

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