I have no knowledge of the details of the one murder in my hometown, nor do I have any knowledge of the details of the murders around where I live now. They did, I think, give the details of some incidents, like I said, but I wasn't going to put together anything just to give it here. In any event, the statistics exist, even if they aren't easily accessible or widely available. That's something that bothers people about the Marshall one-shot-stop statistics; they're difficult to check on your own. At least that's one problem people have.
The one problem with your comment, Mr. Pfleuger, is that in neither my home town, nor where I live now, have there been years without a murder. The places aren't that small. But I don't think the statistics are at all wishy-washy. After all, there's no reason to expect the precise statistics you're looking for the be easily available on the internet. They require a lot of work. In some places, there are statistics in incredible detail, only probably they don't give you what you want, at least not easily. But as you know, that's what makes studying the big picture difficult.
That is a good question about the strangers. If you had access to the police files, you might eventually come up with the answer but that's a hard one.
I've only mentioned murder statistics. There are other violent crimes, too, as well as burglary, car theft (haven't seen horse stealing anywhere yet), and all those traffic violations, spitting on the street, jaywalking, and so on.
Another factor that's difficult to factor in, I imagine, is the way numbers are related to the population, while it doesn't follow that either victims or perpetrators are residents. We are surrounded by other jurisdictions with large populations, too, and it's easy to move from one jurisdiction to another. That makes car dealers nervous when they're close to the river.
Yet another factor but one which is well known locally is the way some places within the same statistical jurisdiction (in my case, the county) experience a lot more crime than other parts of the county. You probably know that about where you live yourself. I don't know how you take that into account but in theory, any change in crime numbers because of a change in the law would be the same throughout the whole county. That seems logical, anyway. Yet at the same time, if the particular law that changed was national, the change would be the same everywhere--in theory. But it probably won't be. Then the problem is sifting out one cause of the change from all the other causes. How you can do that and make someone else believe it is mildly difficult and I say that based on having taken criminology classes in college.
Not much has changed since then, 40 years ago, except that a lot more things are illegal.
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
Underneath the starry flag, civilize 'em with a Krag,
and return us to our own beloved homes!
Buy War Bonds.