Several years ago I wrote an article about Crime Definitions You Should Think About, talking about the definition of “Aggravated Assault” (as opposed to “Attempted Murder”) and what it meant—and how often it happened. If you haven’t read that, please take a moment to do so, because it describes the definition of aggravated assault, and why that definition is important. It’ll make the next part a lot more clear.
Each year, states (and divisions within that state such as county and city departments) are required to report crime statistics in various ways. One of the most important “indexes” of crime are “Part I” crimes, which include (among other things) the various categories of “Violent Crimes” which are: Criminal Homicide, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault.
Most often, people (when talking about armed self-defense) discuss the criminal homicide rates in their various areas, touting those areas as “safe” or “dangerous” in various descriptions based on those rates, most of which are misleading at best, and downright wrong fairly often.
These are the stats from the Omaha Police Department, reported to the FBI for the year 2018.
Let’s zoom in on the specific parts for violent crime:
So—-only 22 criminal homicides in Omaha in 2018! That’s good, right? I mean, that’s a pretty small number.
Except that completely ignores the important part, from a self-defense perspective. Remember: Armed self-defense (with a firearm) means that you are using a lethal-force level of response, which is ONLY legal if the threat is sufficiently significant. We already know that the threat of criminal homicide is high enough, obviously. If you read the Crime Definitions link above, you already know that Aggravated Assault is ALSO sufficient for a lethal-level response (because in an aggravated assault, the only reason it WASN’T criminal homicide is because the criminal wasn’t quite competent enough to kill the victim, even though their methods of trying were exactly the same as in a criminal homicide. No, you don’t have to wait to be killed to response at a lethal-force level.)
But that’s not all: Rape, in Nebraska, is considered a sufficient threat of death or serious bodily harm to justify a lethal force response.
Which means that in Nebraska in 2018, there weren’t merely 22 cases when armed self-defense would have been justified. It means that just in Omaha in 2018, there were 2172 reported cases of crimes in which an armed defensive response was completely justified. That’s almost six times a day, for every day of the year in 2018.
Matter of fact, in Omaha, you were 4.8 times as likely to be a victim of a crime justifying a lethal-level response as you were being the victim of a robbery. (In a robbery, we don’t automatically know the justified level of defensive response. In the rest, we do.)
In Lincoln, things are similar, though a tiny bit smaller due to the population difference.
160 robberies. 284 rapes (yes, reported rapes were more common than reported robberies), 6 murders, and 590 aggravated assaults. So in 2018 in Lincoln, there were 880 reported criminal attacks that justified a lethal-level defensive response. So you were 5.5 times as likely to have that happen compared to being a victim of a robbery.
Here’s Nebraska in 2017 (Nebraska has not yet released its “Crime In Nebraska – 2018” report yet).
In 2017 (and all indications are there were more in 2018) there were 4722 crimes that justified a lethal-level defensive response that were reported to law enforcement. (This ignores all of the ones we don’t know about—children/people missing, ones that got stopped and then not reported, and ones that succeeded and no one knew or reported, such as what occurs with some rape crimes.)
4722. That’s almost 13 a day, for every day in 2017. Every single one of those crimes justified a lethal-level defense response, such as with a concealed handgun.
So the next time someone tells you that “you don’t need a gun, this is a safe place to live” ask them if they are okay with themselves or one of their loved ones being one of the 4722 that suffered death or seriously bodily harm because they didn’t want to take responsibility for their safety.
You might be more kind about it than that, perhaps instead engaging them in a discussion about it (because chances are they probably really just don’t know any better)—but don’t let someone else talk you out of having the tools needed to keep yourself safe.
Lincoln Crime Stats: https://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/police/stats.htm
Nebraska Crime Stats: https://ncc.nebraska.gov/sites/ncc.nebraska.gov/files/doc/Crime_In_Nebraska_2017.pdf