Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crime:  Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts

The number of violent crimes in the United States dropped significantly last year, to what appeared to be the lowest rate in nearly 40 years, a development that was considered puzzling partly because it ran counter to the prevailing expectation that crime would increase during a recession.

In all regions, the country appears to be safer. The odds of being murdered or robbed are now less than half of what they were in the early 1990s, when violent crime peaked in the United States. Small towns, especially, are seeing far fewer murders: In cities with populations under 10,000, the number plunged by more than 25% last year.

Take robbery: The nation has endured a devastating economic crisis, but robberies fell 9.5% last year, after dropping 8% the year before.
Nationally, the drop in violent crime not only calls into question the theory that crime rates are closely correlated with economic hardship, but another argument as well, said Frank E. Zimring, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

As the percentage of people behind bars has decreased in the past few years, violent crime rates have fallen as well. For those who believed that higher incarceration rates inevitably led to less crime, this would also be the last time to expect a crime decline, he said.

[Emphasis added].

For more, see Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts by Richard A. Oppel Jr, May 23, 2011 at NYTimes.com.

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