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by Peter Moskos

September 29, 2015

Why did crime plummet in the US?

Over at Vox there's a fair and brief look for and against all the theories of the crime drop.

1. There's about half as much violent crime in the US as there was 25 years ago
2. The theory: putting more people in prison helped reduce crime
3. The theory: putting more police on the streets prevented crime
4. The theory: broken-windows policing prevented serious crime
5. The theory: police have gotten better at detecting and preventing crime
6. The theory: more guns, less crime
7. The theory: the economy got better and crime got less appealing
8. The theory: crime is harder because people don't carry cash as much anymore
9. The theory: people aren't committing crimes because they're inside playing video games
10. The theory: gentrification is taking over crime-ridden neighborhoods
11. The theory: people are committing fewer crimes because they're drinking less alcohol
12. The theory: psychiatric pills reduced violent and criminal behavior
13. The theory: less crack use led to less crime
14. The theory: America's gangs have gotten less violent
15. The theory: the US population is just aging out of crime
16. The theory: legal abortion is preventing would-be criminals from being born
17. The theory: lead exposure caused crime, and lead abatement efforts reduced it


Unknown said...

Well, that clears things up. About time.

Concerned citizen said...

Why has the rate of forcible rape* plummeted by ~50% in the last 25 years?

*(i.e., forcible rapes that are reported, investigated, and result in an arrest, or exceptional clearance)

Six of the top seven explanatory factors in the Vox article are basically irrelevant.

Moreover, the precipitous decline (shown in the graph linked below) occurred in spite of: (1) Increasingly enlightened women, who are more likely to report; and, (2) Increasingly enlightened law enforcement, who made it less onerous for women to report, and who are more likely to investigate/make an arrest.