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FACT CHECK: Baghdad Has 3 Times More Murders Than Philadelphia

In a bit of irony, a blog titled "Think Progress" made a post where they didn't. Earlier today on Wizbang, Alexander K. McClure posted a link to a map of all the murders in Philadelphia and made passing comparisons to Baghdad.

That's when Think Progress stepped in it with a "FACT CHECK" that wasn't.

FACT CHECK: Baghdad Has 13 Times More Murders Than Philadelphia

The city McClure pointed to is Philadelphia. It had 337 homicides between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2006.

In Baghdad, the Brookings Institution's Iraq Index estimates that 5,320 people are ... projected to be killed this year, meaning Baghdad had 13.2 times more murders than Philadelphia.

Like any good liberal, she's really bad at math. She looks at raw numbers not murders per capita like we really measure murders.

She omits that Philadelphia has a population of 1,463,281 while Baghdad's population is 6,000,000. (1)

Using her own numbers(2) and extrapolating out on a per capita basis, Philly has 2.68 murders per 10,000 people and Baghdad has 8.87 murders per 10,000 people. (calculations below)

So in a freaking war zone, the murder rate in Baghdad is only about triple that of Philadelphia.

Of course when we measure murders, we look at rates and not raw numbers. If you don't, you can get goofy results. We could take the total murders in the United States vs the total murders in Iraq and the US would have far more murders... That's why we do it per capita.

So the question remains... when do we pull out of Philadelphia?

Then in a another delicious bit of irony, "Think Progess" wraps up the post with this:

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has also tried to claim that living in Washington, DC, is as dangerous as living in Iraq. Comparing the murder rate in any U.S. city with the situation in Baghdad only underscores how out-of-touch some conservatives are from the real situation on the ground in Iraq.

This is especially funny. Because in their first post they did their math wrong and claimed that the murders where 160 times higher in Baghdad than Philly. (and that number seemed credible to them) Then they revised it to a mere 13. When in reality the number is 3.

So the conclusion is obvious... Not understanding the murder rate in Iraq only underscores how out-of-touch some liberals are from the real situation on the ground in Iraq.

Now we see how progressives "think."

Baghdad: 5,320 / 6,000,000 = 0.000886667 * 10,000 = 8.86667

Philly: 337 + (337 * (2/12)) = 393 / 1,463,281 = 0.000268575 * 10,000 = 2.68575

(1) The population of Baghdad is really not well determined. Googling around I saw figures from 5 million to almost 7 million. The controversial Lancet study (that the liberals all love) put it at 6.55 million. I used 6 million for my calculations.

(2) I didn't double check her numbers... I probably should have.

Comments (28)

That's great to hear that t... (Below threshold)

That's great to hear that the murder rate in Baghdad isn't substantially higher than Philly. All the more reason to begin a phased withdrawal immediately. Thanks Paul!

I gotta hand it to you Lark... (Below threshold)

I gotta hand it to you Larkin, you never let the facts get in the way of your opinion.

No, I'm serious. If the si... (Below threshold)

No, I'm serious. If the situation isn't that bad in Baghdad why do they need US troops there?

Some of you seem to be arguing that on the one hand, Iraq will collapse into civil war if we leave, and, on the other hand that things really aren't that bad (as shown by the murder rate). Isn't that an inconsistent pair of arguments?

This has been a fatal flaw in the Bush message about Iraq from the very beginning. He repeatedly said we're making progress, but at the same time the number of troops has continued to climb. If we really were making progress, the number of troops would be steadily decreasing not increasing.

I think Larkin is talking a... (Below threshold)

I think Larkin is talking about the phased withdrawal from Philly. No blood for cheesesteak!

Would any successful person... (Below threshold)

Would any successful person want to live in north philly, or SW philly?


Decades of Dem leadership, lib social programs, and other entitlements have led these blue cities to be the most dangerous in America.

Wonder if Murtha wants to redeploy 'quick strike swat units' in Philly to New Brunswick, or Greenland, since Okinawa is probably full by now?

Sorry to go OT but. . . </p... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:

Sorry to go OT but. . .

Apparently Aramoff has fingered 6 to 8 Corrupt Dem Senators. This will be a very interesting Congressional Session indeed.

PIMFAbramoff... (Below threshold)
Proud Kaffir:



Paul, you seem to be the on... (Below threshold)

Paul, you seem to be the one ignoring facts. There is a war in Iraq and specifically Bagdad. I saw today that some of the antique MSM outlets are actually admitting that they have mis-reported (hyped) every aspect of the war. I guess impending bankruptcy woke up outfits like the WaPO. They just announced a total reorganization which means lot of employee's head for the unemployment lines. Good thing the economy is so good and unemployment is the lowest in years. They just may be able to get a job if they can learn to say 'you want fries with that'. They aren't qualified for anything else.

Anti-American reporting has cost the WaPO, NYT's and LAT's dearly. Maybe a change in attitude will get them a few subscribers back, but it will be very few. Funny what a failure will do to a news organization. They now admit that the U.S. is actullly fighting the "Terrorists" in Iraq.

The recent spike in violence in Bagdad was specifically to help repay (help get them elected) the dim's for five years of aid and comfort. They think, actually they know, the dim's will cut and run and the terrorists will win.

Actually when you look at the total murders (not rate) in the U.S. vs Iraq then Iraq doesn't seem too bad with a war going on and the U.S. a free peace loving country, according to the dim's.

Iraq's health minister stated that 150,000 had died in Iraq, includes terrorists. So the number is still only 3 to 1 in a war zone.

Look at what I found.

Violent Crimes in 2003: 1,383,676
Violent Crimes in 2004: 1,360,088
Violent Crimes in 2005: 1,390,695

Total: 4,134,459

Murder in 2003: 16,528
Murder in 2004: 16,148
Murder in 2005: 16,692

Total Murders: 49,368

Thanks to Wake up America for the numbers.

The stories are all about m... (Below threshold)

The stories are all about media manipulation of the numbers as well as finding an angle that they feel is newsworthy.

I'll give an example somewhat close to home for me...

New Orleans, pre-Katrina, had some of the highest murder rates per-capita in the country, which was acknowledged regionally.

I'd speculate the reasons for it not being more well-known nationally are that:

1. It would have negatively impacted tourism, which was the city's only real industry

2. It would have reflected badly on the city's supermajority of liberal politicians like Mayor Marc Morial and his family, or Sen. Mary Landrieu and her family.

3. The murders tended to be the "black on black" variety, which the liberal press doesn't like to acknowledge.

In 2003 (two years before Katrina), it was 59 murders for every 100,000 people in New Orleans. That converts to a 5.9 / 10,000 when using your scale.

In contrast, in that same year and about 90 miles to the west, Baton Rouge had 41 murders for a population of roughly 225,000.

That's a rate of 1.82 murders per 10,000 citizens and there were TWO ACTIVE SERIAL KILLERS there at the time gaining massive media attention.

The more famous one, Derrick Todd Lee, killed at least 5 women and was captured in 2003.

The other, Sean Vincent Gillis, confessed to approximately 8 murders in 2004 when questioned about one of his victims. He's since recanted and plead not guilty.

Those two serial killers were sexy media cases because the victims tended to be white women between the ages of 18 and 35 who disappeared from the general vicinity of Louisiana State University.

That's the same "missing white girl" syndrome that sends camera crews to Aruba for six months and out to Minnesota at the drop of a hat when a coed disappears.

In the case of Iraq, the murder rate is relevant to them because "war = ratings" and they're trying to re-create Viet Nam by bringing home daily body totals to demoralize the general population.

I'm sure if 20 headless bod... (Below threshold)

I'm sure if 20 headless bodies floating down a theoretical river in Philly people would want to withdrawl. That seems to be the case in Iraq though, daily.

>I'm sure if 20 headless bo... (Below threshold)

>I'm sure if 20 headless bodies floating down a theoretical river in Philly people would want to withdrawl. That seems to be the case in Iraq though, daily.

No JP2.. That SEEMS to be the case to you warped liberals who have no sense of reality. For the adults who have perspective we know better....

You're just like the babe at "Think Progress" [sic] in her liitle mind, 94,000 murders per year in Baghdad seemed credible.

>Paul, you seem to be the o... (Below threshold)

>Paul, you seem to be the one ignoring facts.

You're right scrapiron, I ignored every one of thoese facts. (walks away shaking his head and wondering WTF scarpiron was talking about.)

Well maybe Baghdad's popula... (Below threshold)

Well maybe Baghdad's population really is 6 million when the Iranian National Guard and al Queda and Saudi terrorists and Syrian operatives and ... all go home.

"No, I'm serious. If the situation isn't that bad in Baghdad why do they need US troops there?"

Larkin, you are conveniently omitting why those murders are being committed. In Philly people murder for love, drugs, envy, greed, personal slights, etc. They're not trying to overthrow Philly's City Council or the Mayor and they're not trying to keep people from voting or exercizing free speech. And I didn't see a single cause of murder in Philly described as "suicide bombing".

Am I the only one that took the original post about Philly's murder rate as just a snide joke?

"No, I'm serious.... (Below threshold)
"No, I'm serious. If the situation isn't that bad in Baghdad why do they need US troops there?"

This reminds me of a liberal perplexed by why the crime rate has gone down while the prison population has gone up.

From the <a href="http://ww... (Below threshold)

From the Washington Post:
"The death rate for African American men ages 20 to 34 in Philadelphia was 4.37 per 1,000 in 2002, 11 percent higher than among troops in Iraq."

Paul, if I may, a minor cor... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

Paul, if I may, a minor correction to your math:

Your multiplication factor for Philly (projecting the 10-month rate to the end of the year) should have been 2/10 rather than 2/12, since the rate was based on the preceding ten months. Doing that, I get a projected 404 murders, and a rate of 2.76 per 10,000. Your point remains... Philly and Baghdad are in the same order of magnitude.

Everyone likes to forget th... (Below threshold)

Everyone likes to forget the soon to reach 50 million babies murdered in the U.S. in the past few years. How many are murdered each year now? That will make the numbers in Iraq look like a mouse running through a herd of elephants.

But.. but.. but... all th... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

But.. but.. but... all the good little lefties *know* that Iraq is a total bloody quagmire!

Despite all their high and minded talk of being the "reality based community" and whatnot, they'll often swallow whatever CNNReutersAPCBS throws at them. They don't make an effort to make an accurate picture because (1) it's fashionable to have that view and (2) it, like so many other poorly thought out lefty positions, allows them to feel superior to those unenlightened conservative rednecks.

Let's add a little context ... (Below threshold)

Let's add a little context to these numbers. And some food for thought.

Population of Baghdad - 6,000,000
Population of Iraq - 26,000,000
Percent of population in Baghdad - 23%
Total murders projected this year - 5,320/year
Or as originally quoted 5,320/month - 63,840/year

So murder rate is somewhere between 14.6 - 175 per day. (Obviously 14.6 is too low and 175 is too high. Even with suicide bomber taking out 20+ people a day and death squads another 50+, you just can't get to 175 day in and day out. Those day when only 10 or 20 people are killed really screws the average.)

According to the Lancet report, the total number of deaths is 650,000 since the start of the war, with 100,000 in the first year. With the increasing voilence can we assume 200,000 in the second year and 350,000 this year.
At 350,000/year that 959/day. So using the worse case scenario, the remainder of the coutry has (959 - 175) 784 deaths per day.

Baghdad death ratio 175/6,000,000 = 2.92/100,000 deaths per day
The remainder of the country 784/20,000,000 = 3.92/100,000 deaths per day

So using those numbers, it is safer in Baghdad then the rest of the country? And that is using the high number for deaths in Baghdad. Using only, say 100 deaths per day in Baghdad the numbers become 1.67 vs 4.30. Obviously the media is missing the big story of the total chaos in the rest of the country - yeah right!

Somewhere some of these numbers are vastly incorrect. First off, I think we can safely assume that the Lancet numbers are horribly inflated.

This post just hits it home... (Below threshold)

This post just hits it home and proves my point from the last thread. The murder rate in Baghdad in ONLY three times that of Philadelphia. Obviously that isn't great, but that's enormous progress. It's only the liberal media that says that there's a civil war going on. Give me a break!

Clearly things just aren't that bad in Iraq. The MSM is trying to stab the military in the back, AGAIN. We are winning the war and freedom is on the march.

'm joining this discussion ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

'm joining this discussion late, but I am guessing, following the recent surge in monthly violence seem Baghdad's Murder rate Revised it is more more like 13 to 1, than 3 to 1 in comparison to Philly.

It's amazing what Americans... (Below threshold)

It's amazing what Americans seem to think is acceptable. Kevin, the normal way of representing murder rates is per 100,000, not per 10,000.

So, by your calculations:

Philadelphia: 26.8
Baghdad: 88.6 (That's 4x, not 3x Philadelphia's murder rate, which is already astronomical)

Compare these figures with:

London: 2.4
Toronto: 1.96

But I'm sure the people of Baghdad will be reassured that their murder rate isn't really very high because there is a war. And I'm sure they'll forget who started that war. After all, they're still so happy that they have been liberated:


Actually cat, it 3.31x. So... (Below threshold)

Actually cat, it 3.31x. So it is closer to 3 than 4.

True, engineer. And both yo... (Below threshold)

True, engineer. And both your correct figure and my wrong one are a long way from 13. But that doesn't change the main point - that 26.8/100,000 is an outrageously high murder rate to use as a baseline for normality - and 3.31 times that is insufferable. If you think it's OK in your own country, fine - it's your country. Just stop exporting your democracy-on-crack-cocaine to the rest of the world.

I just got hit with the pro... (Below threshold)

I just got hit with the proverbial 2 x 4 across the head.

Nobody is saying that the murder rate in Philadelphia is acceptable, in fact we all have been saying quite the opposite.

But cat shows me the real scary view into the mind of a 'progressive'. In her mind, the government of Saddam was okay. Our democracy is not good. The cost of freedom is too high. Better to live under tyrants and despots, as long as we don't do anything to upset them, they'll let us live (or kill us on a whim, if they so desire).

I'm so glad that our forefathers didn't have this view.

By the way cat, it was Saddam who started the war by not complying with (and openly breaking) the terms of the first Gulf war. You see there are consequences for one's actions.

Cat,When discussing ... (Below threshold)

When discussing the accuracy of someones post, you might want to address the right person.
No Kevin posted a comment here, and the author is Paul.
When comparing 2 sets of data, it is important to use the same math. And to get the lowest number possible in the ratio above 1.0.
Why say 89 vs 27 rather than 8.9 vs 2.7?

Now, Philly's murder rate is not acceptable, and nobody is saying it is.

For London's murder rate: 2.9? Bully for them. But, the UK only calls a case closed a definitive intended murder as a homocide. The US calls any death caused by a human action that isn't catorgorized other wise as murder (for reporting purposes). That is, in the UK it is only a murder until accident, suicide and manslaughter have been ruled out. In the US, these deaths begin as murders until proven otherwise. Looking at the larger and less fudgeable pool of violent crime, you'll see that in 2005 there were 2,420,000 violent crimes in the UK, with a population of 60,609,000 (roughly). In the US, there were 1,390,695 with a population of 296,410,000.
So, overall the UK has 25 citizens per violent crime. The US has 213 per violent crime.
That means a citizen of the UK is 8 times more likely to experience a violent crime than their American cousins.
I seem to recall the UK being rated as the most violent member of the EU recently...

I am not going back to Phil... (Below threshold)

I am not going back to Philly or Baghdad, so why should I care about the numbers?

The only real difference be... (Below threshold)

The only real difference between Baghdad and Philly is that, in Philly, Santa Claus will only get 'booed.' In Baghdad, he'll get shot at.

And in all likelihood he'd shoot back.






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