Crime is down in the Motor City.
So far this year, there are 37 percent fewer robberies, 22 percent fewer break-ins and 30 percent fewer carjackings when compared to the same time period last year, according to The Detroit News.
While Detroit’s law enforcement officers probably deserve much of the credit for the reduction in crime, Police Chief James Craig believes there is another force at work: law-abiding gun owners who have exercised their fundamental right of self-defense, putting lawbreakers on notice that there will be repercussions for their actions.
“Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,” said Craig, an outspoken advocate of lawful gun ownership.
“I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed,” he continued.
Craig, unlike many CLEOs in major cities, believes that gun owners have the capacity to deter crime, though he admits that he does not know how significant the impact is.
“I can’t say what specific percentage is caused by this, but there’s no question in my mind it has had an effect,” Craig said.
Craig’s position conflicts, not surprisingly, with the orthodoxy of the gun-control community which believes that more good guys with guns increases gun-related crime.
“Our position is, more guns equals more crime,” said Josh Horwitz, director of the D.C.-based Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “These are complicated issues, but the empirical evidence shows the states with the lowest gun ownership and the tightest restrictions have the fewest instances of gun violence.”
It goes without saying, but empirical data published by the FBI illustrates that overall violent crime, property crime and gun-related homicides have declined over the past decade, yet, over that same period of time, there’s been a surge in gun sales and an expansion of ‘shall-issue’ concealed carry laws across the country.
While definitively saying there is a causal relationship between the two trends is difficult given the number of factors that influence crime (drugs, gangs, socioeconomic status, geography), one can safely argue that the notion of more guns leading to a material increase in crime is flat out ridiculous.