November 25, 2014
Crime Decline in New York City
There are many different theories that have developed to explain the steep decline in crime that began in the 1990’s following decades of the highest crime rates in history. There have been numerous studies and forums to gather, discuss, and interpret data. The one consensus among them all is that there is no easy answer to the question- why has the crime rate dropped? Some of the many factors that have been considered as possible contributors to the decline include- demographics, the drug market, the economy, increased policing efforts, incarcerations, handguns, lead paint and legalized abortion. One common point that most researchers, law enforcement experts and community activists agree on is that there is no one single factor that can be attributed with causing a decline in crime.
“ Both the rise and fall of violent crime rates in the 1980s and 1990s can be attributed to the interaction among three broad social and economic trends: the shifting proportion of young people in the population, the development and spread of the crack trade, and the changing labor market.” James Alan Fox, a criminologist, predicted a peak in violent crime in 1980 and a downturn in the early 1990s by showing that the baby boom generation would, at the time, be “aging- out” of the high- crime age range. During those years, the group most likely to commit violent crimes - 18 to 24 years- olds- were declining as a percentage of the population, and, consequently violent crimes declined. Demographics alone are not a reliable factor for the decline in violent crime though, because the crime surge of the late 1980s and early 1990s occurred while the size of the group most like...
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...epidemic, and the economy. The environment plays a crucial role in terms of policing efforts, drugs and the economy. While there is no way to control demographics, we, as a community, can control policing efforts. Policing efforts, drugs, and the economy are interrelated. A tight economy often increases the number of people involved in selling drugs. People using drugs often steal to be able to buy the drugs. Increased policing efforts are needed to deal with the drug pushers and users.
Historical data shows there will always be spikes and falls in the crime rate. If we pay attention to the data that has been compiled and watch for similar trends, maybe we can take measures to avoid drastic spikes in crime before they happen. A crime- free society is virtually impossible, but a safer, low crime society can be achieved if we become pro- active instead of reactive.
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