The connections which I am about to describe are not of my creation. My job is to deconstruct.
An 18 year old man was shot and killed at 1:45 a.m. on Friday, June 21st just outside a gas station-convenience store in Springfield’s Forest Park neighborhood. Despite his age he had not yet graduated from high school. The homicide was the city’s sixth of the year, at this time last year the ten people had been murdered. On a local television news station the follow up to the story on the murder was this:
Homicide (being a rare event when compared to other crimes such as larceny, burglary, or assault) is a very poor barometers of crime in a community. Where homicide numbers can be useful is in comparisons of community to community when taken in chunks of years because the definition of homicide, and its reporting are much more consistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction whereas other criminal activity can go unreported in particularly crime ridden places and definitional interpretations can cloud other data.
That having been said, the reporter is taking this single crime, however tragic, which strictly speaking is representative of a 40% drop in its category to date, and reporting that people “feel Springfield is getting worse”. Of course the reason people feel it is getting worse is because that very same news outlet, along with all of the others, would never report any improvement in the city’s crime rate, or if any one of them ever did it would be couched like this: Numbers say crime is down in the city, residents disagree.
-“Math, data, and facts say 2 + 2 = 4, but I don’t believe it.”
-“Well, that’s it from here, back to you in the studio.”
We will have to wait to see if that prediction comes true.
As far as how the media actually has responded to what is really a remarkable drop in the number of homicides this year, (Especially when you notice that the first murder “on the street” didn’t occur until the end of May of this year and the city is still on pace to see a significant drop in the total number of homicides)there has been absolutely no mention of it as a story which might need elaboration.