Don’t own a gun but have a safe neighborhood? Thank a gun owner.
The recent measles outbreaks have sparked a national debate over vaccinations and the concept of “herd immunity.” The basic idea behind herd immunity is that “the vaccination of a significant portion of a population provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.”
The concept of “herd immunity” applies to gun ownership and crime rates just as it does to vaccinations and infectious disease.
Crime rates in Chicago dropped dramatically in 2014 after the state of Illinois allowed legal concealed carry. From the Washington Times:
[T]he number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.
As Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association observed:
It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect. … The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.
According to AWR Hawkins, national FBI statistics also showed a significant decrease in crime in the first half 2014 even though gun sales soared in 2013:
The number of murders declined 6.0 percent, the number of rapes (revised definition) declined 10.1 percent, aggravated assaults decreased 1.6 percent, and robbery offenses decreased 10.3 percent.