Faced with rising levels of violent crime, far too many municipalities and their leaders have focused on restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens instead of going after and prosecuting criminals. “We have to get guns off the streets!” is the usual mantra as these politicians scapegoat people who practice their constitutional rights to self-defense.
However, a newly released study on crime in Washington, D.C., clearly shows that a much more-effective approach is—surprise, surprise—to get the bad guys off the streets. Indeed, this study finds that these bad guys are not only readily identifiable, but they also commit the vast majority of violent crimes.
As the NRA-ILA recently reported: “A December 2021 study conducted in concert with the federal enclave’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council and the Metropolitan Police Department, the findings of which are published in a document titled ‘Gun Violence Problem Analysis Summary Report,’ found that much of D.C.’s violent crime is perpetrated by a small portion of the population that is already known to law enforcement.”
The report concluded: “In Washington, DC, most gun violence is tightly concentrated,” and that those involved, “share a common set of risk factors, including: involvement in street crews/groups; significant criminal justice history including prior or active community supervision; often prior victimization; and a connection to a recent shooting (within the past 12 months).”
Further summarizing the data, the report said, “This small number of very high-risk individuals are identifiable, their violence is predictable, and therefore it is preventable. Based on the assessment of data and the series of interviews conducted, [National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform] estimates that within a year, there are at least 500 identifiable people who rise to this level of very high risk, and likely no more than 200 at any one given time. These individuals comprise approximately 60-70% of all gun violence in the District.”
So, if these criminals are known to law enforcement, and in many cases under city supervision as parolees, how are they able to keep committing these violent crimes?
Of course, it’s not only Washington, D.C., in which a small subset of people commit most of the violent crimes. Then-Yale Ph.D. candidate, and current assistant professor at the University of Texas, Michael Sierra-Arévalo, outlined some of the research on this topic in a 2015 piece for the Hartford Courant, titled, “The Shooting Disease: Who You Know, Where You Live.”
As Sierra-Arévalo explained, “The concentration [of violent crimes] is not just in terms of place, but also people. It’s a tiny handful of the community that’s responsible for the lion’s share of the bloodshed. Turning to Boston again, in the period between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, more than half of all murders, more than three-quarters of youth homicides and 70 percent of all shootings were perpetrated by 1 percent of youth between the ages of 15 and 24.”
“As shown by Yale University sociologists in a recent study, 70 percent of all shootings in Chicago can be located in a social network composed of less than 6 percent of the city’s population,” said the researcher.
Meanwhile, the National Shooting Sports Foundation noted that “Washington, D.C., is home to some of the nation’s strictest gun-control laws. In fact, for years there was only one location where a firearm could be transferred. Because that licensee was not a commercial firearm retailer that doesn’t actually sell guns, it only processed firearm transfers from outside jurisdictions. This forced Washingtonians to pay an additional $125 firearm transfer fee. That retailer closed, but two more opened, however, they also do not sell firearms and only perform transfers.”
And the District also caved to calls to “defund the police,” slashing the Metropolitan Police Department’s annual budget by millions of dollars in 2020.
One would hope this new study would cause D.C. leaders to focus on the criminals committing these violent crimes, instead of taking a soft-on-crime approach and seeking ever more restrictions on citizens and their Second Amendment rights.