Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blumstein: The Obama Effect

The H.F. Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America is an annual forum where leading criminal justice practitioners, journalists and policymakers get together to discuss emerging trends, analysis and research being conducted around the world. The symposium closed yesterday in New York.

As rates of reported street crime are down dramatically nationwide David Kennedy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice attributed at least part of the crime decline to an “emerging sensibility that none of this is acceptable.”

According to The Crime Reporter , Criminologist Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University went a step further. Blumstein speculated on the possibility of an “Obama Effect,” in which some young black men are more optimistic about their future because of the president’s election, and refrain from violence.

When crime rates began their historic decline in the late 1990's there were many reasons offered. At the time, Blumstein suggested the decline in crime was in part the result of the decline in the demand for crack cocaine. Others suggested incarceration, gun control, more police on the street and better policing to name a few. In fact, Steven Levitt suggested the legalization of abortion wiped out a whole generation of potential criminals.

The speculation continues as crime rates continue to fall.

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