Newswise – New York City is in the safest 15 percent of more than 800 U.S. cities, according to a groundbreaking new analysis from researchers at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering.

In an article published in Natural citiesa team of researchers examined the role that city population size plays on firearm homicide rates, gun ownership, and licensed gun sellers.

The researchers found that none of these variables varies linearly with population size. In other words, higher population size did not directly translate into proportionately higher rates of homicide, gun ownership, or gun sales in a predictable linear fashion across cities. The relationships were more complex.

This finding led researchers to apply a data analysis measure called Scale-Adjusted Metropolitan Indicators (SAMIs) to filter out population effects, provide a fair comparison between cities of different sizes, and provide principled analyzes of the interplay between gun violence, ownership, and accessibility.

“People often cite the per capita rate of gun violence as evidence of whether gun laws are working in a given metropolis – or even how safe cities are in comparison to one another – but that’s actually not entirely accurate,” he said Maurizio Porfiri, the paper’s senior writer. Porfiri is director of NYU Tandon Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP) and institute professor in the departments of mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering and biomedical engineering. Porfiri wrote about the study in a Nature behind the paper blog.

“SAMI shows us that some large cities with higher per capita rates of gun violence may actually be doing a better job of curbing gun violence than their smaller counterparts with lower per capita rates.”

Porfiri and Rayan Succar, a graduate student in mechanical engineering and CUSP, collected and analyzed data on the number of gun homicides and armed robberies, gun ownership and licensed gun sellers in about 800 cities with a size of about 20 million (metropolitan area). up to 10,000.

Using SAMI, they found that gun homicide and robbery rates grow superlinearly and are disproportionately concentrated in larger cities like NYC.

In contrast, gun ownership scales sublinearly, with larger cities having fewer guns per capita than their smaller counterparts. Per capita rates of gun violence are higher in cities with larger populations because of causal factors, including greater income disparities and people’s proximity to one another.

By examining cities’ deviations from the scaling laws, the researchers found that rising murder rates quantitatively lead to more firearm ownership, likely due to concerns about self-protection. Easier access to licensed gun sellers also directly increases gun ownership, with access being better in smaller cities.

“Our research finds evidence supporting the self-protection theory, which suggests that people purchase firearms out of fear for their own lives and those of their loved ones,” Succar said.

Researchers found that New York City’s per capita murder rates are significantly lower than expected by urban scaling models, given the city’s size and its gun ecosystem.

“Although many people view New York as unsafe, our population-adjusted analysis makes it clear that the city is doing far better at murder prevention than you would probably expect. In fact, it ranks at the top of the ten largest metropolitan areas in the country. Succar said.

“Our study provides a solid quantitative basis for assessing the effectiveness of local policies to reduce shootings,” Porfiri said. “We plan to expand this urban scaling theory and causal discovery approach globally to unravel complex dynamics that shape cities worldwide.”

This study contributes to Porfiri’s ongoing data-driven research related to the proliferation of guns and violence in the United States, which he is pursuing as part of a $2 million National Science Foundation grant in 2020 to study the “Firearms ecosystem” in the United States. This is the first of his studies to examine city-level data. Previous projects have examined state- and national-level data. His published research has focused on Motives of fame-seeking mass shooters, Factors that lead to the purchase of weapons, Gun ownership trends by stateAnd Forecasting Monthly Firearm Murder Rates.

The rankings of all cities in this study can be found at Github. Below is a summary:


Highest: Cities where murder rates are higher than would be predicted given their size

  1. Helena-West Helena, AR
  2. Clarksdale, MS
  3. Selma, AL
  4. Greenville, MS
  5. Indianola, MS
  6. Grenada, MS
  7. Blytheville, AR
  8. Greenwood, MS
  9. Pine Bluff, AR
  10. Bennettsville, SC

Lowest: Cities where murder rates are lower than would be predicted given their size

  1. Mount Pleasant, MI
  2. Rexburg, ID
  3. Huntingdon, PA
  4. Auburn, IN
  5. Willmar, MN
  6. Fremont, NE
  7. Dickinson, N.D
  8. Ithaca, NY
  9. Kearney, NE
  10. Lincoln, IL


Highest: Cities where homeownership rates are higher than would be expected given their size

  1. Natchitoches, LA
  2. Bastrop, LA
  3. Cleveland, MS
  4. Tuscaloosa, AL
  5. Statesboro, GA
  6. Americus, GA
  7. Brenham, TX
  8. Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville, AL
  9. Albany, GA
  10. Troy, AL

Lowest: Cities where homeownership rates are lower than would be expected given their size

  1. Gallup, NM
  2. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI
  3. Auburn, NY
  4. Eagle Pass, TX
  5. Ithaca, NY
  6. Kapaa, HI
  7. Hilo, HI
  8. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
  9. Lamesa, TX
  10. Freeport, IL


Highest: Cities that have more licensed dealers than their size suggests

  1. Prineville, OR
  2. Marlin, SD
  3. Fredericksburg, TX
  4. Helena, MT
  5. Prescott, AZ
  6. Kalispell, MT
  7. La Grande, OR
  8. Jefferson City, MO
  9. Company, AL
  10. Greeley, CO

Lowest: Cities that have fewer licensed dealers than would be expected based on their size

  1. Pecos, TX
  2. Raymondville, TX
  3. Eagle Pass, TX
  4. El Centro, California
  5. Clarksdale, MS
  6. Crescent City, California
  7. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
  8. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
  9. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
  10. Salinas, California

About NYU Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering is home to a community of distinguished faculty, undergraduate and graduate students dedicated to understanding and developing technologies that power cities, enable global communications, combat climate change and create a healthier, safer and more equitable world Creating reality and digital worlds. The school’s culture focuses on promoting rigorous, interdisciplinary collaboration and research; promoting inclusivity, entrepreneurship and diverse perspectives; and creating innovative and accessible pathways for lifelong learning in STEM. NYU Tandon dates back to 1854, the founding year of both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute. Located in the heart of Brooklyn, NYU Tandon is an important part of New York University and its unparalleled global network. For more information visit

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *