The 9 most violent states in the U.S. are also the most conservative

by Ben Hoffman

We’ve all heard that crime doesn’t pay. Peace, it turns out, just might.

The newest edition of the U.S. Peace Index, developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace, ranks states by level of peacefulness. The index is based on five primary indicators: (1) number of homicides per 100,000 people, (2) number of violent crimes per 100,000 people, (3) number of people in jail per 100,000 people, (4) number of police officers per 100,000 people and (5) general availability of small arms.

Combining these figures, the U.S. Peace Index calculates a number summarizing the overall peacefulness of each state, with low numbers being safer. Currently, the national average is 2.056.

Since 1995, the U.S. has become 8 percent safe, according to the index. Not all states have improved, though. New York’s become 32.3 percent safer since 1991, but other states have actually become more dangerous, like North Dakota (47.7 percent more dangerous) and Tennessee (9.3 percent more dangerous). Generally, Southern states tended to be the least safe, with the region scoring 3.13 on the index, compared with the Northeast, calculated to be the safest region with a score of 1.99.

Reducing crime seems to have more benefits than just an increased sense of well-being, too, with the index’s authors hinting that safety might have notable economic benefits. If the United States peace index was as low as Canada’s (1.392 compared to 2.056), for example, the U.S. Peace Index’s authors argue that state governments could save up to $89 billion in incarceration, medical, judicial and policing costs. Add to that an increase in nationwide productivity equivalent to a $272 billion stimulus, as well as 2.7 million newly-created jobs, and it starts to become pretty clear: peace pays.

Indicators are weighted, allowing homicides to carry the greatest significance, while availability of firearms carries the least. The index also groups into four categories an additional 37 secondary factors like high school graduation rate and median income: politics and demographics, education, health and economic conditions.

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9 Comments to “The 9 most violent states in the U.S. are also the most conservative”

  1. And the macro interanal version – the most religious have the most teen pregnancies, the most divorces, the most obesity . . .. it goes on.

    But as for crime, we now have a private prison industry that lobbies against legislation aimed at reduciing crimie. Cool, eh?

    • That’s true, and we’ve had judges profit from putting people in prison. The governor of AZ would have profited from the law she tried to pass to imprison more illegal aliens. We have the military industrial complex promoting wars and the prison industrial complex promoting fascism.

  2. And with the militarization of police . . . I don’t see any of this improving.

  3. (1) number of homicides per 100,000 people, (2) number of violent crimes per 100,000 people, (3) number of people in jail per 100,000 people, (4) number of police officers per 100,000 people and (5) general availability of small arms.

    1 and 2 seem to make sense. I agree that we lock up way too many people but don’t think that someone gettin’ time in the slammer for weed makes them “violent”. 4 could be a good thing depending on how they measure. 5 is a constitutional right. Jeepers.

  4. Correlation does not imply causation. Maybe the violence is what causes a conservative political system. The voters believe that this is the best answer to the violence.

    • [Correlation does not imply causation. Maybe the violence is what causes a conservative political system.]

      Those statements contradict each other. But what’s certain is conservative policies don’t work. Conservative policies may not cause the violence but they don’t do anything to correct the problem.

  5. Seems that there is some skew in these numbers. For one, accessability to small arms doesn’t correlate to increase violence. State’s have different laws regarding the sale of fire arms.

  6. Ok, let me say…..this is incredibly misleading.

    I live in Michigan. Our state is probably somewhere in the middle crime wise and we are also a blue state that leans purple sometimes. But let’s talk violence. There is one really dangerous place in Michigan. The city of Detroit. It consistently tops in crime rate nationally. And guess what? It also is voted overwhelmingly for Obama. In contrast, I lived out on the west side of the state and lived in a dark Red area and guess what? The town I lived in hadn’t had a murder in years.

    I assume this is true for other states as well. Where is the violence being committed by county? Is it the red counties or the blue ones?

  7. [ [Correlation does not imply causation. Maybe the violence is what causes a conservative political system.]

    Those statements contradict each other. But what’s certain is conservative policies don’t work. Conservative policies may not cause the violence but they don’t do anything to correct the problem.]

    Use of the word “maybe” means they do not contradict each other. Saying that conservative policies do nothing to correct the problem is not a conclusion that can be drawn from the study because, again, correlation does not imply causation.

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