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Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:29 PM

Violent crime in the United States has been dropping continuously for almost 20 years.

Since it peaked in 1993, violent crime has dropped pretty much every year, now being down a third from it's height. Crime rates in the US are the lowest they've been since the 1960s.

Most people probably don't know that, though, even here. There's a widespread perception that things are somehow worse today, when in reality crime-wise it's the best it's been in almost half a century.

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Reply Violent crime in the United States has been dropping continuously for almost 20 years. (Original post)
TheWraith Jan 2012 OP
AlecBGreen Jan 2012 #1
maggiesfarmer Jan 2012 #3
EOTE Jan 2012 #6
TheWraith Jan 2012 #9
TheWraith Jan 2012 #13
whatchamacallit Jan 2012 #14
TheWraith Jan 2012 #16
whatchamacallit Jan 2012 #19
TheWraith Jan 2012 #22
whatchamacallit Jan 2012 #23
maggiesfarmer Jan 2012 #11
LanternWaste Jan 2012 #2
TheWraith Jan 2012 #10
Ron Obvious Jan 2012 #4
Douglas Carpenter Jan 2012 #7
Obamanaut Jan 2012 #5
EOTE Jan 2012 #8
TheWraith Jan 2012 #12
former9thward Jan 2012 #15
Douglas Carpenter Jan 2012 #17
former9thward Jan 2012 #18
Douglas Carpenter Jan 2012 #21
TheWraith Jan 2012 #24
former9thward Jan 2012 #25
treestar Jan 2012 #20

Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:37 PM

1. no link?

do you have a hypothesis to explain why?

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Response to AlecBGreen (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:43 PM

3. Dubner and Levitt in Freakonomics suggest a correlation to abortion

and present some pretty compelling evidence, IMO

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Response to maggiesfarmer (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:51 PM

6. Correct. A fairly significant drop in crime occured just as the children who would have been

born before RvW would have come of age. It's a sad fact that unwanted children are far more likely to enter a life of crime.

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Response to AlecBGreen (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:56 PM

9. There's about a billion theories.

Strictly speaking, none of them are really provable. More cops. More effective policing strategies. Stabilization of the drug trade resulting in fewer gang wars (although those still account for the vast majority of our murder rate). States legalizing armed self defense. Better background checks on weapons sales. Greater situation awareness on the part of the public. Demographic changes. Economic changes, with for the most part lower unemployment and more availability of low-skilled jobs.

The net result though is that crime has been dropping for a long time (actually it peaked in 1991, I misremembered), both in absolute numbers:

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

And in rate per population:

http://reason.com/blog/2009/09/14/us-violent-crime-rates-lowest

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 02:05 PM

13. Oh, I forgot to add technology.

There's also the theory that improvements in technology have a lot to do with it, as improvements in fingerprinting and DNA evidence catch criminals before they have a chance to multiply repeat. 25 years ago, a repeat murderer or rapist would have to basically be caught either by an eyewitness or with incriminating evidence in their possession. Today that's no longer true.

That's one of the explanations with actual evidence behind it, although I suspect "all of the above" is probably the case.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 02:10 PM

14. REASON.COM?

Here's a PDF the site provides to tell you who reads Reason

http://reason.com/media/pdf/ReasonMediaKit2010.pdf

Among the praisers: Rush Limbaugh and John Stossel!

The more you know...

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 02:40 PM

16. Somebody wanted a link, I googled for it.

If you have an actual substantive comment to make, please do.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 03:09 PM

19. Uh huh...

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Response to whatchamacallit (Reply #19)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 03:17 PM

22. Care to elaborate on that statement?

Or are you simply unable to substantively criticize anything, so you're going to go for a "nudge wink" strategy?

I suggest you either provide a competing viewpoint, or apologize.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #22)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 03:23 PM

23. Nope

I will take your word, that when asked what you based your OP on, you googled for some supportive data and got unlucky with the hit.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:39 PM

2. Precious salt for the wounds of the victims.

Precious salt for the wounds of the victims.

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Response to LanternWaste (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:58 PM

10. So because something bad happened to someone, we should ignore that crime is down?

There is never going to be NO crime. But there's vastly fewer victims today than there have been for most of modern American history.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:45 PM

4. Demographics

The baby boomers are getting too old to be committing violent crimes, and the subsequent generations are smaller.

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Response to Ron Obvious (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:54 PM

7. that is probably a major part of the equation

The median average age which is now about 37 in the United States is higher than it has ever been. There is no question that the tendency to commit serious crimes drops dramatically as people get older.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)


Response to Obamanaut (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:54 PM

8. That's correct. However, there's very little evidence to suggest that concealed carry lowers crime.

Crime has been lowered in all states over the past 20+ years. Most of the "shall issue" states during this time received a lower drop in crime than states on average. Some have even experienced marked increases in crime.

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Response to Obamanaut (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 02:01 PM

12. Yes, and many of the others loosened their laws.

In 1986, there were only 8 states with "shall issue" laws for concealed carry of weapons, and 15 states which did not allow it at all. Today there's 38 "shall issue" states, and only one which bans all carrying of weapons (Illinois).

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 02:28 PM

15. Almost entirely prison.

In 1980 the U.S. had about 500,000 in prison. Our prison population is now over 2.5 million. If you are in prison you can't commit violent crime to the outside population.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #15)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 02:45 PM

17. while U.S. incarceration rates dwarf that of all other countries while still having by far the

highest violent crime rate in the western world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_incarceration_rate

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Response to Douglas Carpenter (Reply #17)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 03:08 PM

18. Which only demonstrates how high our violent crime rate would be

if we didn't have that rate of incarceration.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 03:13 PM

21. but what is the rest of the western world doing right and we are doing wrong that gives us a

stratospheric crime rate compared to them while having at the same time locking up people at a rate way, way beyond anyone else

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Response to former9thward (Reply #18)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 03:31 PM

24. That line of reasoning is pretty ridiculous.

Whether you believe incarceration works or not, the claim that "Well, if it weren't for X, look how much WORSE it would be!" (or the inverse, claiming that things would be so much better without something you don't approve of) has no real scientific basis. There is no particular grounds to suggest it's in any way accurate.

The fact of the matter is, the US has a relatively higher crime rate than a small handful of other western countries (because let's be honest, that's the subset we're being compared to) is because 1) we have a relatively higher rate of poverty, which means more desperate people--mostly young black and brown men--willing to turn to gangs and the drug trade in order to get by, combined with 2) the fact that we have one of the largest economies in the world, providing in turn probably the single largest market for drugs anywhere on the planet. That means lots of those gang wars I referred to upthread, over control of said drug trade, and lots of desperate young men getting shot over being expendable soldiers. The US isn't unique in this regard; if France became the largest economy on the planet overnight, I'm pretty sure their own drug trade would explode with similar results. Or England, or New South Wales.

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Response to TheWraith (Reply #24)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 06:59 PM

25. No it is not "ridiculous".

A reduction in violent crime rates over basically the same period of increasing incarceration rates and not two ships passing in the night. They are related to each other. The reasons for the crime rate itself is partially your reasons and partially others.

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Response to TheWraith (Original post)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 03:11 PM

20. Replaced by terrorism

Maybe that's part of the motive for the right wing to make so much of it.

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