This is the sixth in a series from Dana Goldstein of the Justice Lab at The Marshall Project, Top 10 (Not Entirely Crazy) Theories Explaining the Great Crime Decline:
The tech thesis
Air conditioning and television brought people from the streets into their homes, a safer environment. Cars are now much more difficult to steal, because of sophisticated ignition and locking systems. The introduction of debit cards, including for the distribution of welfare benefits, means people carry less cash, which makes them less likely to become victims.
“These forces change the dynamic of normal life,” Roman says. “How much do they explain the crime decline in the 1990s? A little bit. But they are dwarfed by the end of the crack epidemic and all the violence associated with it.”