Apparently there are a number of versions of this disturbing information about firearm death rates in DC posted in the blogosphere. I received this email from a reader who asked if I could shed some light on the following:
Regardless of where you stand on the issue of the U.S. involvement in
Iraq, here's a sobering statistic:
There has been a monthly average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theatre of
operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2,112 deaths.
That gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers.
The firearm death rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000 persons for
the same period. That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in
the U.S. Capital than you are in Iraq.
Conclusion: The U.S. should pull out of Washington!
I researched this and here’s what I found. According to the DC Police Department, there were 181 homicides in DC in 2007. The DC government estimates the population to be about 580,000. So, my calculation is that there were about 32 homicides per 100,000 (note this is over a 12 month period and includes all murders not just by handgun). Also, according to Forbes.com
the American City with the highest murder rate is Detroit (418 in 2006). Baltimore, New Orleans, Newark, and St. Louis round out the top five. Washington, DC was 7th in 2006. However, this comparison is really bogus anyway because many of the deaths in Iraq are due to roadside bombs.