The Terminator said:
In England, the percentage of burglaries committed when the occupants
are at home is something like 30%, while in the US, it’s around 9%.
Let me add two more data points that I was able to find:
Canada (Edmonton) 10% (Canadian Urban Victimization Survey #9) and
Australia (Victoria) <10% (Burglary, a Social Reality).
Obviously, no conclusions about cause and
effect can be reached by looking at these stats alone, however, the
desired conclusion can be reached by looking at how jailed perps responded
in interviews. Fear of encountering an armed victim WAS important to
them in places where gun ownership (on the average) was high.
You’re trying to get people to think that I concluded, “Fewer perps
enter occupied homes in the US because they fear the owners are
armed,” because of the data–9% occupied home entries in the US, and
30% in England. I indeed quoted these statistics, and the statement
before it, but this statement was grounded in the original post
containing the statistics, which included references to the
interviews with prisoners.
Terminator is referring to Wright and Rossi’s “The Armed Criminal in
America”. W&R constructed an index of “concern about the armed
victim” based on whether they agreed with statements like
“A criminal is not going to mess around with a victim he knows is
armed with a gun.” The average varied from state to state and was
positively correlated (r =.51, p=.07, N=10) with Cook’s measure of the
density of gun ownership.
That is, Terminator based his conclusion on a correlation about as
strong as the ones he described as REALLY BAD.
(BTW, I compute p=.13 (not significant) for the correlation above.
Can anyone check this? Did W&R use a one-tailed test???)
Furthermore, even if we accept that there is a causal connection here,
reverse causation is more plausible, since criminals that had actually
encountered armed victims were LESS likely to be concerned about it.
That is, if criminals are more concerned about armed victims, they are
more likely to arm themselves (50% of W&R’s criminals claimed that
“chance victim would be armed” was a very important reason to go
armed.) This would lead to a greater percentage of homicides being
committed with firearms. Cook’s measure of the density of gun
ownership is just the percentage of homicides committed with firearms
added to the percentage of suicides.