Monday, August 28, 2006

It's All Relative

After searching high and low for some positive news about Minneapolis to counter the frequent onslaught of criminal negativity, I believe I've hit upon something.

We can be thankful we're not in South Africa.

While Minneapolis has reported 42 murders year-to-date, South Africa (yes, I realize it's a country and not a city) has an average of 51 murders per day, according to a recent AP report.

We can compare by adjusting for population using per capita rates. By rough calculation, the odds of getting murdered in South Africa are 1 in 2500. In Minneapolis your odds are 1 in 7742 (I'm making some assumptions here; I realize not every murder victim lived in Minneapolis).

The article is reminiscent of news reports from large cities in Brazil, where heavily armed criminals will have massive firefights with police in urban areas. The criminals in South Africa may even have the upper hand. Crime is rampant.

(AP) Watch your back in South Africa. They kill folks here. Murder them at a bewildering rate.

Robbers kill their victims, bystanders kill criminals, family members kill each other.

Gun battles erupt on streets and in shopping malls. Passers-by whip out pistols and join in firefights between criminals and police or security guards. A recent flurry in high profile bloodshed even has police suggesting they are losing the fight with violent crime.
The South African violence appears to be country wide, and life seems to have little meaning.

At least in Minnesota we can avoid going to Minneapolis.

Statistically a South African is 12 times more likely to be murdered than the average American and his chances of being killed are 50 times greater than if he lived in western Europe.

"This is an extraordinarily violent society and nobody understands it," said Peter Gastrow, a crime analyst at the Institute for Security Studies in Cape Town.
So as violence continues in Minneapolis and the Twin Cities area, we can be thankful we don't live in South Africa. The positive thought of the day is: It could be worse.

If that helps.