Trying to figure out why crime rates are down

Crime rates are down but experts are having difficulty figuring out exactly why:

There are no neat answers. Among the theories: As overall economic activity slows, more people who otherwise would be at work are unemployed and at home, and when they do travel they are not as likely to carry items of value, so burglaries and street robberies decline.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, when the economy went south crime rates went up. Inflation was high then, low now. Is that the difference? For the experts, it’s back to the drawing board.

A couple of thoughts:

1. In a large system like American society, it can be very difficult to isolate individual or even small groups of factors that are causing the downward trend in crime. Some might take this as evidence that social scientists can’t figure anything out about society. I would suggest that it simply illustrates how complex social life can be.

2. Perhaps like the economy, politicians will get credit for crime going down and get blamed if crime goes up even if policies had little known effect on these changes.

3. Across American society, do the American people perceive that crime has gone down? While the statistics say it has, do people feel safer? This is an issue of how crime is portrayed and whether individuals accept these societal-level figures (if they even ever see them) over anecdotal evidence.

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