Saturday, September 17, 2011

So what would have been the major headlines if violent crime rose 12%

The important good news even if it gets ho-hum coverage is that violent crime is down yet again, this time by 12% last year, down 70% from the 1993 high point. Contrary to the article and its unnamed experts, I don't think the experts are necessarily surprised that crime went down in the short-term in a bad economy (longer term impacts to society from the economy are less hopeful tho). What is surprising is that it went down that much, as the article's one expert says.


Regression to the mean suggests stabilization or increase would be more likely than this large decrease. Maybe someday we'll have some certainty on why it's happening. The whole lead-reduction/crime-reduction thing seems really strong, but not definite. The "more porn, less rape" theory also seems to have some support although not as much. "More abortion, less crime" is also interesting and the least supported in my nonexpert opinion (but can be tested overseas).

Anyway, it's nice to have some good domestic news along with the good news from the Arab world.


A tangent: I recently watched Predator 2 after being told it was good (my review: meh). Filmed in 1990 and set in 1997, it took the then-upward crime trajectory and sent it forward to an ungovernable future. Interestingly bad prediction.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

maybe it's the solar minimum

willard said...

I'd put my buck on the rise of obesity.

tonylearns said...

I had a hypothesis in the late 90's when crime was first going down that connected increasing policing and sophistication ( as well as likely abuse) of law enforcement, along with a nationwide community effort in the major african american communities to develop local programs to decrease the causes of crime.
Part of my hypothesis was that conservatives would never accept that possibility and the blacks and liberals wouldn't want to acknowledge that violent crime in black communities had been very hi, so wouldn't want to advertise the successful efforts that had decreased it , os no one would acknowledge this factor

tonylearns said...

I just posted this on facebook with the sarcastic title that Obama must be the cause of this, since he is the cause of all our economic woes.

JCH said...

Fat chance, Willard.

David B. Benson said...

Greatly superior computers and communications plays some role, at least in the police work aspect of crime.

John said...

Why is the crime rate down?
Maybe the country is so broke that there's nothing left to steal!

John said...

I submit a couple links relative to "the good news from the Arab world."

http://tinyurl.com/3zvbvyk
http://tinyurl.com/6l8xsl7
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=105024

John Puma

EliRabett said...

Eli answered the previous question about the perfectly wrong scientific theory: JJ Thompson's plum pudding model of the atom. It will take some time to comment on this one, but the answer is churnalism.

Horatio Algeranon said...

Horatio thought the rabett was always supposed to be one hop ahead.

Jeffrey Davis said...

Is the cohort of crime's Usual Suspects shrinking?

David B. Benson said...

If robberies went up I'd blaim Robin Hood.

David B. Benson said...

We exported Predator 2 to Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Snow Bunny says:

I delved into the FBI crime figures a couple of years ago. I discarded every hypothesis I had.

In the late nineties, the crime figures for 15-19, 20-25, 25-30 years old were higher than in the early 2000s. Go figure. The varmints that had 15 to 19 did not commit as many crimes as the previous crop of 20-25 when they had aged 5 years. Etc.

Some news reports in the early 2000s noted the drop was independent of anti-crime actions. New York city took the 'hard' approach: don't let guys get away with depositing bodily fluids in public, etc. Boston took the 'soft' approach: involving the community, ministers, etc. Some cities did nothing at all different. Didn't matter, the crime rate went down everywhere.

The effect also showed in racially homogenous states, like Wyoming or New Hampshire.

I tried to correlate the data with effects changing in infancy + 15-20 years, when criminal behavior starts to appear in statistics. Just couldn't find anything that matched the data.

Just had a thought -- the removal of lead based paint from buildings? Or maybe more working women is an asset to child raising? Increased preschool education? Or what?

Jaydee said...

I started reading Freakonomics at the weekend. I haven't read Chapter 4 which is about abortion & crime

http://freakonomicsbook.com/freakonomics/chapter-excerpts/chapter-4/

But there do seem to be a number of correlations.

Anonymous said...

So, Obama did something right. He lowered the crime rate.