In continuing the analysis of gun control laws and violent crime, let’s turn our attention to robbery rates. Source for the robbery rates comes from the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2016, Table 3. And this time I’m grouping the States by their grade from the Giffords anti-gun group for 2016.
Now the Giffords group gives States a letter grade, ranging from A to F. California is the only State with an A, and half the States (25) have an F rating. Numerically for any trend calculations, I substituted the letter grades for these numbers: A = 2, A- = 3, B+ = 4 … D- = 12, F = 13.
One of the leading arguments in favor of concealed carry and the right to bear arms is the ability to defend yourself and others. The idea of the shop keeper with a shotgun behind the counter, for example. And the carrier of a concealed weapon using that to deter a mugging on the street.
I’ve already shown that gun control laws largely do not affect violent crime overall. Robbery, however, is different.
For this analysis, I grouped together all States with similar letter grades into one grouping to eliminate situations wherein only one or two States had a particular grade. For example California is the only State with an A, so I grouped it with all States with an A- rating. This provided five groups.
That’s a pretty steady progression on the mean and minimum robbery rates based on grade level. As the gun laws loosen, the risk of being a robbery victim steadily goes down.
Now two things to point out. The 215.6 robbery rate – Nevada – is an obvious outlier looking at the data. Without it, the range goes up to 171, which is Maryland. But the overall mean and median don’t drop much: 78.8 and 79.2, respectively.
And then there’s the fact that A and B States do not have robbery rates going below 50.0 robberies per 100,000. The highest-graded State with a robbery rate below 50.0 is Iowa at 36.6 and graded at a C. And that’s the only State above a D with that low of a rate.
The States with the five highest robbery rates are Nevada (215.6, C-), Maryland (171, A-), Delaware (142.7, B-), California (139.6, A), and Illinois (139.3, B). The States with the five lowest robbery rates are all States scored at F: Wyoming (10.1), Idaho (12.7), Vermont (17.0), Maine (20), and North Dakota (23.9).
In short, you infringe on someones’ right to bear arms through onerous gun control laws, and you make the law abiding more likely to be robbery victims.
But this isn’t the end of the story. As I’ve pointed out before, the FBI further divides the violent crime rates – robbery included – by “Metropolitan Statistical Area”, “Cities outside metropolitan areas”, and “Nonmetropolitan counties”. Here the numbers definitely show that robbery is a metropolitan problem.
Cities outside metropolitan areas:
These States did not have data available for this: Hawaii (A-), New Jersey (A-), Rhode Island (B+), Delaware (B), Indiana (D-), and Arizona (F).
Not nearly as clean a progression here. The numbers show though that you’ll tend to have lower robbery rates in the States rated at C. For all other grades, it’s a mixed bag, though some D and F-rated States do have lower robbery rates than A and B-rated States, and the highest rates are seen with D and F-rated States.
Overall, though, it’s about all over the place. The R² score was 0.0078, meaning no inference can be drawn about how well a State is rated versus that State’s robbery rate.
The five (5) States with the highest robbery rates in this group for robbery rate are Georgia (F, 111.3), California (A, 115.3), North Carolina (D-, 134.8), Mississippi (F, 142.4), and South Carolina (F, 150.2). The five (5) States with the lowest robbery rates are Wisconsin (C-, 10.2), Wyoming (F, 10.9), Idaho (F, 12.5), Michigan (C, 13.1), and Utah (F, 14.8).
Note as well that all States with a robbery rate under 25.0 are all graded C+ or lower with the exception of Massachusetts, which is graded at an A-. Of all the States with a robbery rate that is below the average for “Cities outside metropolitan areas”, all but 4 are graded at C+ or lower.
Metropolitan Statistical Area:
Here the correlation seen from the combined rates in the first table are a little more prominent. On the average and minimum values, we see a clear downward progression as the grades go from A to F. The R² score 0.0222, which basically means while States graded lower have a tendency for lower robbery rates, there isn’t really any predictive value that can be garnered here. The most we can say is that States with looser gun laws tend to have lower robbery rates in their metro areas.
This is reflected by the fact the five (5) States with the lowest robbery rate in this category are all rated F: Idaho (15.1), Wyoming (16.7), Vermont (24.8), Maine (25.1), and North Dakota (36.6). Indeed 7 of the 8 States with the lowest robbery rates in this category are all rated F, with the loner being New Hampshire rated with a D.
The five (5) States with the highest robbery rates in this category are Illinois (B+, 154.9), New Mexico (F, 173.5), Maryland (A-, 174.3), Alaska (F, 211.5), and Nevada (C-, 235.8). California comes in at No. 8 when sorting States by their robbery rates in descending order.
These States did not have data available for this: Massachusetts (A-), New Jersey (A-), Rhode Island (B+), Delaware (B), Idaho (F), and Arizona (F).
This is very similar to what was observed with the “Cities outside metropolitan areas” chart, with States rated at a C being the overall best States in this group. But the D and F-rated States again show a tendency to have lower robbery rates than A and B-rated States given the minimum values. The R² value is 0.0068 – virtually no predictive value. In part due to how infrequent robberies are in non-metro/rural areas.
The five States with the lowest robbery rates in this category are Wyoming (F, 1.25), Iowa (C, 1.61), South Dakota (F, 2.62), Nebraska (D, 2.75), and Minnesota (C+, 3.58). The five States with the highest robbery rates in this category are Florida (F, 24.4), Mississippi (F, 26.2), California (A, 33.0), Hawaii (A-, 33.6), and South Carolina (F, 41.7).