Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crime STILL dropping, despite recession

USA Today: the FBI announced that "violent crime dropped 5.5% last year despite a deep recession that has made millions desperate. It was the third such drop in a row and a continuation of the downward trend going on for almost 20 years. News coverage of the event was perfunctory, the political posturing minimal."

Common sense says that crime would go up when the economy's bad, right? But, "As the Great Recession demonstrates, losing a job doesn't suddenly turn law-abiding people into criminals." Violent crime has dropped more than 40 percent from its peak in the early 1990s.

This raises two questions: Why is crime so low? And, why don't people know it?

As to why crime is so low, there are many theories. From what I've read, I tend to think the three largest contributing factors (there are probably many) are better policing methods, better anti-crime technology (more video cameras, for example, and easier ways to find stolen cars), and more people in prison. Incarcerating a record number of people causes other problems, though, which I get into more in the Secret Peace book.

And why don't people know about the low crime rate? Why do some of mine and my wife's relatives still fear that when we walk around New York City at night, we are really walking around New York City circa 1975? Probably for the same reason everyone doesn't know other Secret Peace trends, too - they're gradual and less easily conceived of as compelling news stories. Here's hoping that word spreads, since having low crime but still living in fear is no fun at all, and diminishes the hard work that the police and others put into getting us here over the last few decades.

1 comment:

James said...

yeah! it's a great trend and one can only hope that with a concentrated effort in local communities, on friend-to-friend, family-to-family, local level we can continue the trend for decades to come.