Graphics Matter Part III

Or Common Sense Crime Fighting

Shamelessly renamed to take advantage of Linoge’s Post 🙂

The Anti Rights Cultists often try to claim the meme of employing ‘common sense’ in their attempts to control everyone’s lives.

They focus solely on limited metrics like “gun death” or “firearm related crime”.

Okay then let’s look at that metric in comparison to the other crime measures and see what happens.

I started trying to find a way to visually represent the data to make it more accessible. My first attempt was here and Linoge (Walls of the City – great blog) followed up here.

Now I’m stealing back from him.

First a request

I am unlike the anti-rights cultists — If you see a problem or mistake with my data, assumptions or representations; please tell me.
I’ll either correct it or explain why I chose it.

Second the Data

I used information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report and from the Department of Justices Bureau of Justice Statistics to derive this information.
I made certain assumptions in preparing this.
I postulated that each and every firearm crime was committed by a different person.
In the case of forcible rape, the number of crimes committed with a firearm was unreported so I used the numbers for any weapon.
And all but one of the colored squares starts at the upper left hand corner (Motor Vehicle Theft was too close in size to another stat.) The representations overlap the representation underneath it.

Now the representations

Let’s look at the firearm related crime versus all other crime first.

I tried to create a Venn Diagram to display this data

[singlepic id=262 w=320 h=240 float=center]
(As with all pictures – click to enlarge)

I used 1 inch of diameter equals 1 million criminal acts. Thus the outer circle of Total Crime would be 10.639 inches in diameter. The “firearm related crime” is only 0.366 inches across.

Most criminals don’t start off violently assaulting, raping or murdering people; so focusing on the all crime might lead some non-violent offenders to reform instead, right?

Isn’t that just common sense?

Here is another representation — this time comparing crime types to an estimated 50 Million firearm owners. I stole this directly from Linoge; each number is represented by a single pixel, the total in the shape of a square. Thus 50,000,000 firearm owners (an admitted low estimate) is represented by square 7071 pixels wide by 7071 pixels long. Unfortunately, I had to resize the images to fit — this is only 1600×1600 but you get the idea.

[singlepic id=264 w=320 h=240 float=center]

So, what portion of all that crime is firearm related? I’m glad you asked.

[singlepic id=268 w=320 h=240 float=center]

And to make the comparison a little easier to understand I created my first ever animated gif. (please let this work, please)

[singlepic id=267 w=320 h=240 float=center]
Click to animate

Common Sense Approach?

Also i it common sense to continue to push for restrictive laws — excuse me inconvenience, so many people when firearm related crime, injury and death is trending down already?

What do you think?
Please join the discussion.


By the way feel free to later use any of these representations if you just give me the credit or blame as appropriate.




15 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Braden Lynch on 11.05.11 at 08:07

    Impressive work! Thank you.

    Two suggestions, if they are feasible and easy to do…

    The Venn diagram is compelling. Can you do one more where you focus in on the firearms related violent crimes?

    Also, I was unable to get a higher resolution version of the square-shaped diagrams, so that I can zoom in to read the labels for each of the smaller boxes. Alternatively, can you add large labels and arrows to the boxes?

    Again, great work and yes the animation worked!

  2. Posted by Bob S. on 11.05.11 at 08:07

    Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t want to focus on just violent crime because most criminals don’t start with that. Isn’t it comm on sense to focus on stopping criminals before they commit a violent crime?

    I’ll try for a higher rez image or add a data table later.

  3. Posted by Linoge on 11.05.11 at 08:07

    Yup, I am stealing all those graphics.

    And giving credit, of course…

    Nicely done!

  4. Posted by Bob S. on 11.05.11 at 08:07


    If you want, I’ll email the full size versions. I’m not sure how to get the full size versions posted here because of the Nextgen Gallery limitations.

    Much more impressive when you see a 7071×7071 image 🙂

  5. Posted by Braden Lynch on 11.05.11 at 08:07

    Thank you and you are of course quite right that framing the situation that non-violent crimes are often the “gateway” to other crimes is also very important. Other posts have stressed this reality that many times people who use guns for criminal violence and sometimes their victims have checkered pasts.

    Your graphics shows that fortunately there are a lot less violent crimes (although the personal cost can be very high, as in one’s death) and then the even smaller sub-set of violent crimes committed by a firearm. So, indeed, where is the urgency to restrict firearm ownership? Also what is invisible here is the HUGE number of Defensive Gun Uses (DGUs) that do not show up on these statistics because a criminal was deterred by just the presentation of a firearm by the victim-to-be. Braden

  6. Posted by Linoge on 11.05.11 at 08:07

    Please do send them on, Bob – you know where to find me :).

  7. […] Anti-Rights Cultists want to focus on a very tiny sliver of the total crime issue and have you ignore these types of crimes or worse. Oh, they say they will get around to them as […]

  8. Posted by Linoge on 11.05.11 at 08:07

    Now that I finally got around to writing a post about this one, I noticed something that was bugging me – your representation method for the circles. Using diameter to make the charts equivalent to the actual numbers is easier, granted, but it leads to some potential confusion – doubling the diameter of the circle quadruples the area, throwing the scale into question (area of circle = pi * (r)^2). If you regenerated the chart using 1 square inch as being equivalent to 1,000,000 criminal acts, the scale would be a lot more rigid.

  9. Posted by Bob S. on 11.05.11 at 08:07


    I actually thought about the representation during the development; I then promptly forgot about it until you mentioned it.

    I think the issue lies with our previous illustrations — where your concern would be accurate.

    I’m not using the 1 pixel = 1 crime/person in this case. I am just showing relative size….a much more simplistic representation.

    I actually got the idea from the map representations in the local paper. They were doing an article on the number of permits in a given zip code.
    As long as the relative size of the circles are proportional to the number of crimes; I think I’m good.

    If any of that made sense.

  10. Posted by Linoge on 11.05.11 at 08:07

    That is kind of what I am saying – the proportions break down when you involve squares :). Say you have X and 2X – when you square them, the latter will be four times larger than the former, rather than two times larger than it should be.

    Things will look bigger than they should, or smaller, depending :).

  11. […] last month, Bob S. strove to steal his idea back from me, and put the number of firearm-related crimes in some greater perspective, to better show how […]

  12. Posted by John Hardin on 11.05.11 at 08:07

    Technical comment: the image files would be a _lot_ smaller (by about 1/3) if saved in .PNG format rather than .JPG format. JPEG compression is optimized for continuous-tone images like photographs, and performs much more poorly with graphic artwork like this than .PNG does. .PNG (and .GIF) do better than .JPG at images that consist of large areas of a single color.

    Also: if your bandwidth is getting hosed by downloads of the full-size files, you might consider using the CORAL distributed caching service. Just add “” onto the domain name of the master copy of the file and it’s automatically handled by a distributed caching service with nodes all over the world. For example:

  13. Posted by Bob S. on 11.05.11 at 08:07


    Thanks for the information. Truly this is a great community because of people like you who are willing to share knowledge so freely.

    I’ll start using the PNG format, something I admit I haven’t kept up with. I’ll look into the CORAL service, it sounds interesting.

  14. […] in comparison, "gun deaths" are a nowhere near a "major health issue", and, as Bob S. showed, the opportunity cost of "gun control" is significant, in that the efforts and funds […]

  15. […] See most people will overcome their indoctrination and realize that firearms are just tools and fake firearms can just be props. The normalization of firearms continues — and the data continues to show that isn’t a problem. […]