TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Public perception of gun violence skewed

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
By USA Today
Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 5:57 p.m.
 

Public perception skewed

A majority of Americans think violent gun crime is more of a problem than ever, according to a Pew Research Center study released on Tuesday, when the reality is that it has declined significantly.

According to the survey, done in March, 56 percent of Americans believe gun crime is worse than it was 20 years ago. And 84 percent believe that in recent years, gun crime has increased or stayed the same.

“The public doesn't get its feelings out of crime statistics,” said Alfred Blumstein, an urban systems professor at Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. “The public gets its feelings from particularly notorious events and what the press talks about.”

David Hemenway, a professor at Harvard's School of Public Health, called Pew's findings “not surprising at all.”

He said a recent case that attracted national news, in which a 5-year-old boy in Kentucky accidentally shot and killed his 2-year-old sister, was an example of a relatively commonplace event that, in light of the national focus on guns at the moment, became national news.

“Every week or so, something like that happens,” he said. “But that's the focus now, so people are not surprisingly misled.”

— USA Today

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Alamo named as World Heritage site by United Nations
  2. Years will be needed to gauge efforts to cut Lake Erie algae
  3. Arizona prison to relocate more than 350 inmates after disturbance
  4. Police: Maine man shoots firework from top of his head, dies
  5. Republican Christie criticizes high court’s gay marriage ruling
  6. Measles carries risk of deadly complication for young
  7. Deteriorating nails blamed for North Carolina deck collapse
  8. Austin police kill gunman in slaying in hotel lobby
  9. Woman who tries to sneak on planes arrested twice in 2 days
  10. Notorious New York escapee Sweat returns to prison
  11. Risk of government shutdown to worry Congress on return from July Fourth