U.S. crime drops, but not for the popular reasons

  • Article by: THE ECONOMIST
  • Updated: July 24, 2013 - 7:35 PM

Instead, several causes have coincided, leaving liberals and conservatives looking silly.

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pumiceJul. 24, 13 8:30 PM

From the article: "Traditional measures tend not to include financial crimes such as credit-card fraud or tax evasion.... Unlike rapes and murders, [credit-card fraud and tax evasion] do not excite public fear." Are you sure people don't fear credit-card fraud/identity theft? In 2012 the Minnesota legislature responded to perceived public fear of widespread impersonation fraud by putting an amendment on the ballot.... The same legislators, though, note that tax evasion is more likely to excite public admiration than public fear--especially from the segment of the population which claims it is the government which is "picking our pockets" or "robbing us of our hard-earned wealth" or "stealing our property".

jarlmnJul. 24, 13 9:23 PM

Perhaps the small-time crooks are indeed having a tougher time of it. But for the white-collar thieves in the banks and on Wall St., crime is paying quite well and most of these perps are not among the jailed. Throw a penny-ante hood in prison for stealing from a cash register ... but a well-heeled money-shyster who steals millions, gets away. There's our "justice" system for you ...

alphasongJul. 24, 1310:35 PM

There is some interesting research (covered in both Forbes and Mother Jones) that leaded gasoline was a big driver of violent crime. Crazy sounding I know but the statistics seem credible.

melloncollieJul. 25, 13 4:13 AM

"In 1990, some 147,000 cars were stolen in New York. Last year, fewer than 10,000 were." Had to stop reading the article after that line. In 1990 you could start a car with a screw driver and very few had alarm systems. Try stealing a car today and even if you can get it started it may have an integrated GPS that allows it to be tracked.

melloncollieJul. 25, 13 4:15 AM

How many states have passed conceal and carry laws since the 90's? The number of legal gun sales has soared and crime rates have fallen. This is not rocket science, you just have to be truthful.

ontherecordJul. 25, 13 6:36 AM

melloncollie: "The number of legal gun sales has soared and crime rates have fallen. This is not rocket science, you just have to be truthful." And you must employ logic. Increased gun sales mean more guns are out there to be stolen and used in crimes. And even while crime rates have fallen, there are increasing numbers of gun-fueled mass murders and more accidental shootings resulting in injury and death. How's that for truthful?

firefight41Jul. 25, 13 7:32 AM

Conservatives who insisted that the decline of the traditional nuclear family and growing ethnic diversity would unleash an unstoppable crime wave have been proved wrong. Young people are increasingly likely to have been brought up by one parent and to have played a lot of computer games.***************** Tell me why studies have proven that over 70 percent of the people that are in prison come from a single parent house hold?

EleanoreJul. 25, 13 7:37 AM

Criminal activity has little to do with cars, or guns, or leaded gas, it has to do with people's choices. The trend I'd think deservs watching is not the number of crimes but their impact, the size. Look at the mortgage scam, cash for clunkers, and other bailouts and illigitimate acts. Singular instances of crime have a greater impact on society today than they did on average in the past. That is a negative trend.

elind56Jul. 25, 13 7:53 AM

ontherecord said: "...there are increasing numbers of gun-fueled mass murders."--------------------------Nonsense. There's just 24 hour coverage on cable for a week when one happens which tends to give the uninformed the false perception that these incidents are on the rise. Oh...and interesting choice of words. "Gun fueled"? Please...

EleanoreJul. 25, 13 9:55 AM

This is about choices, and how we react to them. Nothing more.


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