Saturday, October 20, 2012

With increase, violent crime reaching a plateau

Northeastern University Professor James A. Fox, writing in the Boston Globe, admonished readers not to make too much out of the unexpected 18 percent increased in violent crime reported by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Fox wrote, "the critical lesson that seems to be lost time and time again is never to make much of a short term change in crime rate. One-year changes, be they up or down, are terribly ambiguous in meaning. A sudden jump in crime rate, for example, can occur because the latter year was especially bad or because the previous year was especially good.

The long-term context helps us better to understand the current situation. Violent crime dropped precipitously during the 1990s, in large part as a reversal of the surge in street crime and gang conflict that plagued the nation in the late 1980s. To borrow upon Newton’s law, what goes up, generally comes down. Then, during the last decade, the rate of decline slowed, as there was less room for improvement.

It appears that we may now be reaching a plateau where it is unlikely that we will see much more improvement, no matter how hard we try."

To provide some perspective, in 1993 the rate of violent crime per 1,000 people was 79.9.  In 2011, with the 18 percent surge, the rate was 22.5 per 1,000.  No need to panic just yet.

To read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment