The Harvard School of Public Health recently completed a study on homicide rates in 26 countries including the USA. In the study, it was determined that the countries with the highest home ownership of guns had the highest homicide rate increase. In addition, the study looked at USA states that had high home ownership and found that the homicide rate was dramatically higher than the states with a smaller percentage of gun ownership.
Poverty certainly has a strong impact on crime. Desperation and depression caused by financial strain will cause people to do terrible things. The loss of jobs and lack of prospects for jobs can also create the atmosphere for increase in the homicide statistics.
Many criminologists believe that part of the general decline in violent crimes (murders included) can be attributed to the fact that the population is getting older. Younger people are much more likely to commit violent crimes.
According to the following article, which is based on information from Milwaukee, most homicides occur in poverty stricken areas and during a robbery or a drug deal. In a high percentage of cases, the victims know their killers.
Clearly demographics of an area affect homicide rates. Areas with a heavy gang presence are going to experience increases in violence, especially homicide. There is the effect of gang on gang violence, but also heavy collateral damage, often involving civilian casualties. Sadly, no matter what age or education a person has, if gangs are a part of that person’s life there is going to be an increase in potential homicides. The more people you have who are younger and have little education and professional opportunities, the more likely it is that gang presence will be high.