10 Possible Explanations for the Drop in the U.S. Crime Rate

Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Snoop Dogg and Matthew Perry fight crime by playing video games
America’s crime rate has been falling for the past 20 years, with a significant drop in violent offenses occurring in the 1990s and an overall dip taking place since 2008. But experts disagree over the cause of this welcome phenomenon. Here are ten possible explanations as presented by BBC News:
1.      The election of the first black man to the White House inspired young African-Americans, particularly men, to lead more productive lives.
2.      A decrease in the use of crack cocaine had a corresponding impact on crime levels.
3.      Smarter policing resulted in better-educated communities capable of blunting the attempts of criminals involved in theft.
4.      Better use of police intelligence allowed local law enforcement to pinpoint high crime areas and shift resources to combat “the flow of criminality.”
5.      Economist Steven Levitt proposed that legalized abortion, beginning in the 1970s, resulted in fewer children born to poor, single mothers, creating fewer disillusioned youths turning to a life of crime.
6.      Sociologist John Conklin argued that tougher sentencing laws adopted in the 1980s left fewer criminals out in society by the 1990s, when the crime rate began to fall.
7.      Yet another expert, economist Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, said the adoption of unleaded gasoline reduced childhood exposure to lead, and lowered the risk of behavioral problems in juveniles.
8.      With birth rates peaking in the late 1950s and early 1960s, fewer men of “criminal age” were around by the 1990s. 
9.      Video games kept young people off the streets and away from crime.
10.  The proliferation of camera phones discouraged criminals from breaking the law.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
US Crime Figures: Why the Drop? (by Tom Geoghegan, BBC News)


Jack 8 years ago
I find it interesting that there is no mention of the huge increase in the ability of ordinary folks to defend themselves better might have something to do with this. Even the notoriously murderous democrats in Illinois have seen the light and lowered themselves to allow self defense.

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