CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"The Elephant in the Crime Stats Living Room"

Kent Scheidegger at Crime and Consequences thinks that recent coverage of declines in crime rates leaves an important factor out:

Year-to-year fluctuations don't tell us much. The long-term trends are that violent crime went way up in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, dropped sharply in the 90s and generally continued dropping at a slower rate in the decade now ending (the 00s?). Demographics are part of that, as Fox says, but the fact that we went soft on crime in the 60s and 70s and then toughened up in the late 80s is also a factor.

But we mustn't mention that, you see, because so many people are so heavily invested in telling us that it would be "smart on crime" to repeat the mistakes of the 60s.

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