16 Dec 2013

Crime Bask

All Posts 19 Comments

Does anyone know where I can get disaggregated crime data that would show how many homicides were related to various types of drugs? Ideally, I’d like to be able to say that during such and such a period, X homicides were due to cocaine-related drug deals, while Y homicides were related to heroin-related drug deals, etc. Any ideas?

19 Responses to “Crime Bask”

  1. Samson Corwell says:


  2. Major_Freedom says:
    • Major_Freedom says:

      Nevermind, Murphy. This is just arrests. Not homicides.

  3. Ken B says:

    I bet you can’t. Things like arrests are easily counted in bureaucracies, and so are convictions and bodies. But ascribing a body to a cause will be indirect, unless you can count it against an arrest or conviction. But those numbers would be partial. So my guess is if you want them you’ll have to estimate them, or find someone else who already has.

    • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

      Yeah, crime statistics are very difficult to tabulate for this very reason. John Lott has discussed this before when he deals with gun crime – how various law enforcement agencies classify things differently. A lot of the statistics on how you’re more likely to be killed by “someone who knows you” stem from the fact that rival gang members shooting each other are always classified as “people who know each other” rather than random acts of violence, thus skewing the averages up fairly high.

      • Tel says:

        Doesn’t seem too difficult to believe that most people kill for a reason rather than at random.

        • Matt M (Dude Where's My Freedom) says:

          Right. I’m probably not remembering the nuances of his argument 100% correctly. But the basic premise was that the media reports on typical cases of gun violence happening “by someone you know” and the average person assumes that means a husband and wife getting into an argument and one shoots the other.

          But it also includes gang wars, where one criminal shoots another criminal whom they might not know PERSONALLY, but knew they were the member of an opposing gang and killed them because of that.

          So the average law abiding citizen sees on the news that there were X-many “acquaintance murders” or whatever they call it on the news and is shocked, not realizing that they are including gang warfare in that category.

          The basic premise of that particular section of the book was “If you’re not a gang member and you can manage to avoid living in gang-infested areas, your likelihood of being a victim of gun violence is VERY low, but the media won’t tell you that, because all of the gun violence, including gang/drug related, is lumped into one big category.”

  4. David R. Henderson says:


    • Ken B says:

      Remind me never to enter a brevity contest against David.

      • Bob Murphy says:

        But we all wish you would, nevertheless.

        • Major_Freedom says:

          Early Christmas present?

          • Ken B says:

            I am sure that of all the posters here MF you are the most practiced at recognizing wordless replies.

            • Major_Freedom says:

              Seems the Christmas present is somewhat defective. It is telling me things found in the book “Duh, no s^&t”.

        • Richie says:

          Murphy, FTW.

  5. Russ says:

    Here is one that briefly lists by drug content of victims body. (pg. 505)


    This one has a paper you have to request but it talks about the need to break down stats by crime and by drug but don’t know if it does;


  6. Sam says:

    Prof. Murphy,

    You should check out Steve Sailer’s debate with Steven Levitt about the theory of abortion=less crime. One of Sailer’s points was that the crack era disputes Levitt’s theory.


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