Posts Tagged ‘Statistics’

The benefits that vaccinations provide to humanity far outweigh the potential harms from the exceedingly rare side effects. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)
Audio by Jonathan Fader

Okay, as this is a topic that will be discussed ad nauseum this year, I thought I would apply some basic critical thinking. This is, of course, part of a series, the first being The Initial Response and the Virus and second being Context, Masks and Stats.

I thought I would also clarify (if it wasn’t already clear) why I write about topics that often many people think have nothing to do with self-defence. I believe that Krav Maga is truly about learning to walk in peace (as originally intended). This approach, should be clear in my series Self Defense is not just physical. This means that when I hear students, friends, collogues or family making grossly incorrect comments, on either side of the political isle, or others simply expressing confusion about some basic reality that is affecting their mental health (among other things), I feel it is my duty to do or say something. Either to quell there fears, or to educate them with more correct information (most up to date).

To those who believe that everyone should “stay in their lane”, I respectfully disagree.

One thing is for sure, COVID has applied immense pressure to society, and the confusion and non-nonsense, FROM ALL SIDES, conspiracy theorists to experts to politicians, is a big part of the problem.

So, if my writings help you, then wonderful, if they just make you hate me then, by all means. And, like many, while I may be extremely annoyed at how many governments have handled the situation and decisions they are making, it does not mean that I am also anti-science or anti-Vax. In fact, the importance of vaccines cannot be stressed enough, but that does not mean there are no issues with them.

Vaccines in General

I am just going to go ahead and say it: If you are outright against vaccines or fall into the “anti-vaxer” category, then you are not applying critical thinking at all. This is not actually a political thing. In case you have forgotten, much of the anti-vax movement started relatively recently in California from very Left-wing people. It just happens that now many of the anti-vaxers reacting to this specific event tend to be on the Right. This means it is an apolitical issue, so please stop accusing “the other side” of being stupid.

No, vaccines are not going to give your kid autism (that whole rumour started with one fraudulent paper). Historically vaccines are responsible for ridding most of the world of many previously horrible ailments, for example small pox, measles, polio, etc.. In fact, they have been so effective at snuffing out of many of these diseases which plagued humanity, that in many Western countries they do not even give the vaccines at all anymore. I’m actually kind of upset that I never received vaccines for some of these illnesses, because, you know, what if shit hits the fan and I’m not vaccinated against these something that suddenly becomes a problem? GIVE ME MY VACCINES DAMMIT!

With that being said, to sit here and pretend that vaccines are not without drawbacks is also foolish. There have been, and will continue to be, lawsuits, periodically, not just for vaccines, as in the US alone they have paid out over $4 billion in compensation. In fact I recently listened to the podcast Kill Tony, a comedy podcast, in which one of the participants suffered nerve damage due to vaccination, so it does happen.

The general attitude is that the benefits outweigh the potential harm… by a long shot.

For the COVID-19 vaccine however, even if there are some risks (which may include death) many governments are not allowing financial recourse for any damages, which is morally wrong. So, before you call someone names or insult them because they have concerns about vaccines recognize that these concerns are not entirely baseless.

Additionally, pretending like pharmaceutical companies are not morally corrupt corporations, with a very questionable history, is also silly. It can easily be seen in the recent $8 Billion lawsuit against Purdue Pharma related to Oxycontin’s role in the opioid crisis in the US. (To be fair, the responsibility also lies on the shoulders of any corrupt doctor whom prescribes something when they know better.)

With regard to the current vaccine for COVID-19, it has been said if you suffer severe allergic reactions then perhaps it may not be advisable for you.

Vaccines and other medications are very expensive to produce and as a general rule companies won’t even bother unless they think they can recover their expenses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Which makes sense financially, but for the betterment of humanity’s health makes little sense. But it is what it is, and the concern from the producers is a legitimate concern, this doesn’t mean someone is a conspiracy theorist.

Again, as a general rule, MOST of the time vaccines have done more good than harm, BUT, don’t pretend there are not potential negatives for some people.

How Do Traditional Vaccines Work?

I thought I would do a short section on the science behind vaccines, as many people really do not understand how these things work. They hear or read something online that sound ominous, or they don’t understand, and that’s why they decide they don’t like vaccines. First things first; TRADITIONAL vaccines have been used for a long time now and have a long track record of success overall. However, in the early days I bet lots of things didn’t go as planned, because we just didn’t understand enough. So if you dig, you will always find some negative examples. But, again, we don’t have polio, measles, and other horrible viruses/diseases (for the rest of the article I am just going to say “viruses,” but some afflictions that vaccines have helped with may be from other sources) on mass, in general anymore because of them. So overall, fairly good.

Vaccines introduced the virus an Active form, Passive form and other types into your body in a controlled fashion. This is intended to train your immune system to fight off the actual virus should you encounter it in the future. Yes, that means they do inject a small bit of the offending organism, along with other “science stuff,” into your body. If it is Active, it’s a reduced viral/bacterial load (ie. not enough to take hold and give you the illness). If it’s Passive, they use an inactive (dead) form. Other methods employ a part of the virus, etc.. (click on the link for better description)

All to teach your immune system how to deal with it if you were to ever get it.

If you were to encounter something like Smallpox, you may have immunity after having it because your body has now learned how to fight it off. But that’s assuming you are still alive, and most likely you are now severely disfigured. This is why vaccines teach your body how to deal with it before it is encountered. Your body is like, “Hey, I know this! Go away!” and either you are mildly sick or don’t notice it at all. With some illnesses you can only catch it once before you are messed up with disfigurements or dead. Hence you can’t just “get it” in order to develop immunity. Thus many illnesses that require vaccines are those with which the consequences are simply too dire.

Yes, you can get slightly sick after getting a vaccine, exhibiting mild symptoms of the illness or experiencing some minor side effects. This is largely due to the fact that genetics, and humans, are complicated and there is no way of knowing who will react to what. Some people’s immune systems will react more severely than others. I can remember receiving one vaccine as a child that was so painful I could barley move my arm for several days. This does not mean, however, that you are dying or that they injected a microchip into you! It does mean however that our medicine and science is not at the point where we can be so precise that we can have custom doses for each person and we probably wont have for a long time.

Stop expecting perfection, it does not exist.

The COVID-19 Vaccine

Enter the Covid-19 vaccine, which is NOT a traditional vaccine but rather a mRNA-based vaccine.

Just so you know, DNA and RNA are different structures life on this planet is based on. Coronaviruses, like the common cold, are RNA-based, which essentially means they can evolve and change at a pace our medical science has yet to keep up with. This means that, so far, we have never completely eradicated a RNA-based virus and vaccines for them require regular updates (eg. an annual flu shot).

Unlike traditional vaccines they essentially use a “key,” a protein or RNA-type thingy (yes, very scientific word), that teaches your immune system to fight off the virus.

Something to remember about the mRNA vaccines is that they are a relatively NEW technology and there is no longitudinal data, on mass, from which to assess how this will affect us in the long run. Which is a legitimate concern, as, historically, there have occasionally been issues with new technologies when they have not been tested on a wide enough population over a long enough period.

With that being said, numerous studies (one such study) have been carried out globally, on exceptionally large test groups (in the tens of thousands), which is really good, considering traditional test groups are considerably smaller.

However, a legitimate concern from many is, what was the make up of these test groups? Was it a diverse group of people, with thousands of people from White, to Black, to Asian? Or was it, as many studies are, limited to a particular group of people? It’s a legitimate question, as the medical field often ignores the genetic differences in groups when developing things because that would make research more expensive, or the politics of race and culture complicate the matter. But nevertheless, it is a concern and something worth considering. I would hope, as this is a global endeavor and studies have been done all over the place, that this is something that was taken into consideration, but without reading the data from the studies, indicating the makeup of these groups, it will be hard to ascertain.

Another issue is some people actually have been advised not to take the vaccine, that is, individuals with severe allergies. This group essentially has immune issues, for a variety of reasons, which means no vaccine, no normalcy. This was specifically for the Pfizer vaccine, but who knows, it could apply to the other vaccines from the variety of companies producing it, but, as always, without further investigation we may not know until much, much later.

What concerns me most about the vaccine is how numerous governments (Link 1, Link 2, Link 3) have limited or blocked the ability to seek proper compensation should things go wrong, especially if it is made mandatory. If I was a citizen in such a country this would be very concerning to me, as it goes against historic precedence and is extremely immoral and unethical. For many the fact that the companies producing the vaccine are protected from liability is a concern, though a moral argument can be made, on both sides, as to why or why not this should be allowed.

So let’s assume that the vaccine, in its various forms, does what it says it is going to do, which is to provide a 94-95% barrier to stop you getting, or spreading COVID-19 after both shots (less so if you only get one dose). Then within reason lockdowns and mask mandates should disappear. If they do not I would be very, very concerned.

If it does work as they say, preventing the spread of COVID, then the idea that EVERYONE MUST get immunized against COVID to help promote some kind of herd immunity is actually quite silly. This is because, as has been made clear, MOST people under 60, who are reasonably healthy, will not have significant issues should they contract the disease. Which means those who are vulnerable or at risk probably should get vaccinated, and everyone else should if they want. However, to claim everyone MUST take it and that it’s MANDATORY, actually seems very un-scientific to me. Whether asymptomatic people can transmit the virus and how many people are asymptomatic seems to be up for debate, as numbers range between 20%-80% of those who test positive. One thing is for sure, the vast majority of people under 60 who encounter this virus are not at risk of severe complications or death. Thus the idea that if you don’t get vaccinated you will die or the world will end makes no sense to me.

If, for whatever reason, the vaccines are not as effective as they claim, then our options are really to learn to live with this and learn to be healthier in general. We will not know, however, until this thing is rolled out and the next year is upon us. So buckle up and hold on.

While the speculation around COVID herd immunity numbers are up in the air, it should be evident by now that this may be irrelevant at this point, with most people being relatively fine; especially if COVID becomes another annual virus (being RNA-based). Normal herd immunity, by the way, for something like measles requires something like 95% of people to be immune to prevent mass outbreaks. So really, protecting the vulnerable and accepting that most people who get COVID will be just fine is probably the way to go.

Either way, I really want the fear mongering to stop.

No matter the virus what we really need is to see a greater push toward healthier living and better dietary choices, as well as more preventative medicine options in the Western medicine world.

Something I have yet to see from most major world leaders…

Testing

I’ll keep this short, but testing throughout the entire pandemic has been a source of confusion. Most governments did not do widespread testing early enough, particularly where it mattered, at points of entry. Some countries did not even do widespread testing at all, favouring instead targeted testing, and had great success (like Japan). But how testing is used, and it’s results measured, can greatly affect the perception of how bad the pandemic actually is. So it’s worth noting.

In Canada, we are using 3 types of testing: PCR, Point of Care, and Antibody tests. PCR is the most widespread, but also the most problematic and the source of many of the issues, whereas antibody tests are hardly being used at all.

The PCR test, to keep it simple, checks to see if you “have something,” as in are you sick, did you have the virus, is there any virus in there at all? Even the creator of the PCR test said it’s not a good test to get accurate numbers (he did not say it cannot test for the virus, it can). This means this test can produce false positives, meaning you may have the cold and you might test positive. Or you could have had COVID weeks ago, didn’t even know it, are fine now, not contagious, but you would still test positive. This means that it is likely, as most of the world is using PCR, that the positive rate is being presented as higher than they actually are. This is why as soon as you saw mass testing, the positive rates SPIKED dramatically in the second wave, yet the hospitalization rates, while they rose to, didn’t spike through the roof at the same rate.

Scientists and governments may prefer an artifactually high number, to make people take the situation more seriously, but, as I mentioned earlier, I prefer honesty over fear mongering. While COVID is a serious problem it should be obvious now that, either because of the widespread use of the PCR testing or politics of COVID, we will never know the real number of active COVID cases. Just like we will never know truly accurate numbers for the flu and common cold.

But, since it is a global issue, I really think they need more accurate numbers so that better policy decisions can be made. Just my two cents.

Conclusion

While I, like many people in the Krav Maga world, am very against the way governments are reacting and behaving I still support genuine science, that is to say actual reality, not what is being portrayed. NO, I do not believe COVID is as bad as it’s being presented to us; many of the problems are to do with failed policy, reactions, overreactions, etc. As I have made clear in this series, numerous governments got it right, unfortunately most did not.

But when it comes to vaccines, while there are obvious concerns even from a scientific perspective (it was produced rapidly and mistakes could have been made, it’s a new technology, it has no long term data, etc.) vaccines, on the whole, have been positive for humanity.

Personally I never get the yearly flu shot; because I am young and healthy and it’s not a big deal if I get the flu, when I am older, however, I would re-consider this stance. This is because flu and cold vaccines are very different than, say, those for measles, because of that tricky RNA thing.

So on this same logic, when it comes to the COVID vaccine, I am in no rush to get it. HOWEVER, if you are over 60 or an at risk individual, I would definitely consider getting it as soon as you can (from a little poking around I would prefer the Moderna one over the Pfizer) as you are the ones who need it. IF the vulnerable are protected the the death rate from COVID should be negligible, even if only half the population gets it. ESPECIALLY if it turns out that it is going to be an annual shot, then, logically, it will be just like the cold and flu shot; those who are at risk get it, and everyone else do what they feel is best for them. So, no, I am not for mandatory vaccination for this particular virus, it doesn’t make sense to me. If we were facing aerosolized Ebola however, I would be Kraving my way to the front of that line!…JK.

The point of this series was to give some perspective from the eyes of critical thinking. Experts, politicians and those on either side can sometimes get tunnel vision and stop thinking clearly in a broader perspective. On some issues I fall on one side of the isle, and on others the other side of the isle; this is how it should be if you are practicing proper critical thinking. To entrench yourself in the camp of LOCK DOWN, LOCKDOWN, or in the camp of HOAX, then you are not operating with any critical thinking at all.

COVID is not a hoax, it’s just really, really, really, poorly managed by our “dear leaders.” BUT given that many countries that have done well barley lockdown, like Sweden (though they admit they should have been a little more cautious), or countries like Japan didn’t do mass testing, means that perhaps the camp of LOCKDOWN also isn’t applying critical thinking.

So, I hope this series has been of help to you, either to open your eyes to one side or the other, teach you something you didn’t know, or clarify something you thought you knew, then I am glad.

Just remember, self-defence is not just physical, it is everything that comes together so that you can learn to walk in peace, be it physical, social, financial, mental, or spiritual. In these crazy times, sane voices and rational discussion with critical thinking must be our priority, lest we all go mad and fail to learn to walk in peace.

Written by: Jonathan Fader

For training online visit www.utkmu.com. If you are in the Metro Vancouver area, come learn with us in person, sign up at www.urbantacticskm.com

Sticher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/urbantacticsstudios/warriors-den?refid=stpr itunes:https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Audio by Jonathan Fader

The original Blog posts that inspired this, can be found here:

Articles cited in this blogpost:

chicago-police-tape-violent-crime-murder.jpg

I sit here writing this article in Surrey, BC. Considered by locals of metro Vancouver to be one of the more crime-ridden dangerous cities. The question I ask is how true is it actually? Recently in Richmond, BC in a local Tim Horton’s I heard what I can only presume to be an undercover officer, talking to two uniformed RCMP. While I only got the gist of the conversation, I think they were discussing the potential/Current transition in Surrey, From RCMP to a new Local Municipal Police force. The plain-clothed individual was discussing how dangerous it was in the Guildford area and how bad an idea it was to change to a local police force (A sentiment I do not agree with at all). The funny thing is I do not think its that dangerous as I can without much worry walk down the street late at night. I am not at all worried about being mugged or killed. The most likely cause I can think of me being seriously injured is a driver veering off into a curb that I happen to be on. Granted there are areas of Surrey with a higher crime rate. Or areas where there are mentally ill, homeless or drug-addicted individuals. Yet one of the major public transit areas, King George station happens to be in an area where many of these individuals spend their time. Yet day to day 10s of thousands of commuters travels without incident. Yes occasionally someone gets belligerent but I can’t recall the last time there was a homicide that wasn’t pre-meditated or targeted. No, it isn’t the neighborhood of the 50s with clean streets and white picket fences yet comparatively to a global standard it is still very safe.

It can be difficult to quantitively measure danger from one city to another, or from one country to another due to differences in data collection, the accuracy of data and what constitutes a specific crime, but it is clear some are far more dangerous than others. Lets for example sake compare the top 10 most dangerous cities in the world by homicide to the top 10 most dangerous cities in Canada by Homicide. As well as the U.S. and various Global Data from country to country.

Homicide was chosen as it is the most extreme example of Violence as usually recorded by Crime Statistics. Additionally, it would take considerably more research to compile the data for all areas of crime, and unlike Canada, it is not neatly organized for me to look at so, for now, Homicides it is. This is of course not to belittle other crimes, such as rape or theft or property damage.

Let’s look at and unpack the data surrounding homicide. Lets also for the sake of argument, that as the most extreme form of violent crime it is a relative measure of the overall crime or rather danger to life from one place to another. A more in-depth look at data might show differently but for the time being this comparison seems like a reasonable assumption.

Global top 10 most dangerous cities by Homicide (2018)

Rank City, Country Homicides per 100,000 Actual Homicides Population
1 Tijuana, Mexico 138 2640 1,909,424
2 Acapulco, Mexico 111 948 857,883
3 Caracas, Venezuela 100 2980 2,980,492
4 Ciudad Victoria, Mexico 86 314 365,089
5 Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 86 1251 1,462,133
6 Irapuato, Mexico 81 473 580,808
7 Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela 78 645 823, 722
8 Natal, Brazil 75 1,185 1,587,055
9 Fortaleza, Brazil 69 2724 3,939,460
10 Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela 69 264 382,095
     Total: 13,424 5,908,610

*date from 2018 numbers for publication in 2019 Source: https://www.usatoday.com/picture-gallery/travel/news/2019/07/24/most-dangerous-cities-world-tijuana-caracas-cape-town/1813211001/

Canadian Rates

As this is a comparison, and I am in Canada, let’s use some Canadian data.

Top 10 most dangerous cities in Canada by Homicide (2018)

Rank City, Province Homicides per 100,000 Actual Homicides Population
1 Williams Lake, BC 28.03 3 10,704
2 Thompson, MB 20.64 3 14,535
3 Prince Rupert, BC 16.25 2 12,308
4 Wetaskiwin, AB 13.13 2 15,229
5 Penticton, BC 11.13 4 39,950
6 Oak Bay, BC 10.19 2 19,627
7 Marinville, AB 9.64 1 10,369
8 Langley, BC 7.12 2 28,076
9 West Nipissing, ON 6.83 1 14,633
10 Cold Lake, AB 6.73 1 14,848
     Total: 21 180,279

*date from 2018 numbers for publication in 2019

There is clearly a stark contrast between your likelihood to be murdered outside of Canada, Particularly in many people’s favourite tourist destination Mexico than in Canada. In fact, statistically, you are more likely to be murdered in small-town Canada, and Ironically most likely in Smalltown BC, than in the big cities.

Top 10 most dangerous cities in Canada by Homicide (Large Cities, 500,000 + Population 2018)

Rank Rank by Population City, Province Homicides per 100,000 Actual Homicides Population
23 6 Edmonton, AB 4.18 41 981,280
32 7 Winnipeg, MB 3.2 24 749,534
38 8 Vancouver, BC 2.81 19 676,904
42 10 Surrey, BC 2.31 12 518,467
44 4 Calgary, AB 2.17 29 1,336,274
45 1 Toronto, ON 2.15 63 2,929,886
59 9 Quebec City and area, QB 1.56 9 578,712
67 5 Ottawa, ON 1.41 14 994,837
74 2 Montreal and area, QB 1.23 25 2,033,189
79 3 Mississauga and Brampton 1.05 15 1,432,200
       TOTAL: 251 12,231,283

For reference, the Total Canadian Homicides in 2018, In Canada, was 651

US Rates

How does this far compare to our southern neighbors, the 3rd most populous country in the world has extremely comprehensive data collection which would take quite some time to look through but in general the US with a population of 327.2 Million in 2018 , had around 15,498 Homicides, with a rate per 100,000 of 5.0.

It should be noted that the per 100,000 homicide rate has been in decline for several years in the US.

Top 10 most dangerous cities by Homicide in the US. (2017)

Rank City, Province Homicides per 100,000 Actual Homicides Population
1 St. Louis, Missouri 66.07 2082.29 310,284
2 Baltimore, Maryland 55.77 2029.01 613,217
3 Detroit, Michigan 39.80 2056.67 670,792
4 New Orleans, Louisiana 39.50 1121.41 397,447
5 Baton Rouge, Louisiana 38.26 1026.81 227,403
6 Kansas City, Missouri 30.93 1724.31 484,948
7 Cleveland, Ohio 27.77 1556.76 385,391
8 Memphis, Tennessee 27.73 2003.32 652,765
9 Newark, NJ 27.14 896.45 283673
10 Chicago, IL 24.13 1098.86 2,706,171
      15595.89 6,732,091

*date is from 2017 FBI data as compiled by Wikipedia

The total 2017 number of homicides in the US is 17,284. This actually places the US 7th in the world by Homicide numbers globally. This is the data often cited as the issue with the US and violence, more particularly gun crime but of course this does not paint the whole picture. As you can see the total Homicide number is 17,284 but the top 10 cities in 2017 had a total Homicide number of 15,595.89 which accounts for 90% of the total homicides. This means that if the total country has a rate of 5.3 homicides per 1000, these 10 cities account for most of it. This means the entire rest of the country without these cities would have a rate much closer to other western countries. This suggests that it is less of a country problem and more to do with crime and other cultural issues specific to these cities.

Global Rates

Ok so we have done Canada, and the US, let’s take a look at the world by Country. It should be noted that global stats are definitely not 100% accurate as some countries have very poor data collection as well as what is determined a crime or homicide can vary but it can be assumed that generally anyone who was killed without wanting it would be if recorded, a homicide. Additionally, the data is not to date, as it seems the data is based on the last known accurate report. It is likely some countries are more, and some less but this gives an approximate idea.

Top 10 Most Dangerous Countries in the World by Homicide per 100,000

Rank Country Homicides per 100,000 Data Year Actual Homicides Population

(Data Year)

1 El Salvador 61.80 2017 3,942 6.378 Mil.
2 Jamaica 57 2017 1,647 2.89 Mil
3 Venezuela 56.33 2016 17,778 31.57 Mil.
4 US Virgin Islands 49.26 2012 52 108,191
5 Honduras 41.70 2017 3,864 9.265 Mil.
6 Lesotho 41.25 2015 897 2.175 Mil.
7 Belize 37.90 2017 142 274,681
8 St. Vincent and the Grenadines 36.46 2016 40 109, 643
9 South Africa 35.90 2017 20,336 56.72 Mil.
10 Saint Kitts and Nevis 34.23 2012 18 52,591
    45.18 (Average)   48,716(Sum) 109,543,106 (Approx. Sum)

 

For those who are wondering, Canada is 151st out of 230 countries with a per 100,000 rate of 1.80.

Top 10 most dangerous countries in the World by Actual Homicide numbers

Rank Country Homicides per 100,000 Data Year Actual Homicides Population

(Data Year)

1 Brazil 30.5 2017 63,895 209.3 Mil.
2 India 3.22 2016 42,678 1.324 Bil.
3 Mexico 24.80 2017 32,079 129.2 Mil.
4 South Africa 35.90 2017 20,336 56.72 Mil.
5 Nigeria 9.85 2015 17,843 181.2 Mil.
6 Venezuela 56.33 2016 17,778 31.57 Mil.
7 United States 5.30 2017 17,284 325.7 Mil
8 Russia 9.20 2017 13,293 144.5 Mil.
9 Columbia 24.90 2017 12,237 49.07 Mil
10 The Democratic Republic of the Congo 13.55 2015 10,322 76.2 Mil.
    21.36   247,745 (Sum) 2,527,460,000 (Aprox Sum)

Again if you are wondering Canada, is 66th out of 231 countries with a total homicide number of 660.

This means that the top 10 most dangerous countries by per 100,000 numbers in the world account for approximately 1.4% of the world population based on the 2017 number of 7.5 billion. Yet you are statistically more likely to be murdered in those 10 countries even though some of them have low population counts, with an average rate per 100,000 of 45.18 and a total number of 48,716 Murders.

Compared that to the top 10 most dangerous countries by actually homicide numbers accounts for approximately 33.6% of the world’s population with an average rater per 100,000 of 21.36 and a total number of murders of 247,745. The average is heavily skewed by 4 of the 10 countries as some of them like India only have a rate of 3.22 per 100,000.

Remember, especially for the global numbers these are approximate as the data years are not exactly the same and these are only recorded homicides and there may be many more thousands that go unrecorded in many of these countries.

So what does this all mean?

If you know anything about statistics, or if you even picked it up in the numbers. Depending on what numbers you use can dictate how you paint the picture if a place is more dangerous or safer. This is called manipulation. In this article, I am simply presenting what I found, how you choose to interpret it is up to you.

A question you could ask is why do some countries with a low general population of high homicide rates while other countries with large populations have low homicide rates. It could simply be that the statistical data is not entirely accurate, or a more probable cause is that there are specific things that are often regional that cause the populous to be more inclined to murder each other.

Some of these factors could be:

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Poor education
  • Gang Violence
  • War

Of course, there could be many other factors but these are generally some of the big ones. Take Mexico for example. Mexico is currently experiencing dramatically higher homicide rates to the constant violent confrontations between Cartels, Military and independent groups like the Mormons. This spike in violence is heavily related to the drug trade, corruption and a lust for power.

A few years Ago starting in 2009, Metro Vancouver saw a higher than normal homicide rate due to an ongoing Gang War between rival Gangs

This would have given the perception that Vancouver was more violent but statistically if you were not involved in these wars you were relatively safe, though several civilians were killed in several incidents which cause a severe crackdown on the violence. Since then things have only ever been safer.

In America, as mentioned there are 10 cities responsible for most of the homicide and without said cities, their per 100,000 would actually be fairly low. This topic could be looked into quite in-depth but for now let’s just say it is most likely due to low socio-economic status of certain regions in the cities, lower education rates and of course gang Violence. It is likely that if these issues were addressed their homicide rates would dramatically decrease.

Despite Wars or other spiking factors, I would seem that over the last 10-20-30 years there seem to be several cities in any country and several countries which consistently are at or hover near the top 10. This means the underlying issues fueling the homicide rates are clearly not being dealt with. Here is a lose break down over the last few years by country of per 100,000 homicide rates to paint the picture.

IS IT MORE DANGEROUS?

Here’s the thing, I live in the Metro Vancouver area of Canada, which both statistically and anecdotally is safer than many places in Canada. And Canada is considerably safer than many of the other countries listed. Yet every so often I get students coming in saying this city is very violent and not safe. Much like the officers I overheard earlier discussing how dangerous that area of the city is.

Sure relatively to other areas the petty crim is probably, measurably higher but does that make it more dangerous? I think not.

Our perceptions often deceive us. In the western world we are being fed a narrative that things are more dangerous than ever, but clearly just on numbers alone compared to other countries or places it simply is not true.

While statistically, Williams Lake is more dangerous by Homicide but its population is just over 10,000 people. In Winnipeg, at the same time they had 13 times more homicide but with a population is also about 90 times larger. The Williams Lake homicides, if a regular annual occurrence, could suggest an issue with the community it’s self, while the rates in Winnipeg may just indicate it is a city with a specific crime problem that is hard to manage. Both these questions could do with some in-depth analysis, but ask your self as a visitor would you feel safer in a small town compared to a large city? I personally might assume that it is safer in small towns but the statistics would say otherwise. Then I would remember it’s not so black and white and probably not worry too much about it either way as I am not in a Gang nor am I intentionally looking for trouble both of which would dramatically decrease my likelihood of being murdered.

One thing I think I could say for certain is that there is a good chance that someone living in El Salvador, or parts of Mexico would much rather be living in Canada, or, The US because for them it is 100% without a doubt safer. (This does not mean there should be open borders FYI, this is a silly ideologically driven idea that in practical application is beyond foolish. But a topic for another time perhaps)

Like everything though, it is all relative.

A student coming to me who perhaps was assaulted, or has a history of being assaulted will perceive things to be more dangerous not less. It is their personal experience changing their perception, which most likely includes mental damage from their traumas. This could be PTSD or other things.

Regardless of your personal opinions or perceptions, Fact; globally on average, Despite the increase in population, the general Crime Stats are heavily on the decline (A good thing). This is why population increase does not mean more violence in the modern world so clearly, those other factors mentioned may be the cause.

If you are not familiar with the Author Steven Pinker, you should start. He has looked into this topic heavily and the data shows that no, things are not getting more dangerous but quite the opposite. In his book Enlightenment Now, this topic is heavily discussed, and I highly recommend it.

So how dangerous is your city, country, or hemisphere? While yes, if you are in one of the top 10 most dangerous places (measure it however you like) then things might be quite dangerous and hard. But if you happen to grow up in Vancouver, or many other western countries. Guess what, you are doing just fine and trauma aside, and outside specific countries, it is likely that for you my friend, the world is actually safer than ever.

And remember, Facts do not care about your feelings.