Florida’s serious crime rate fell to the lowest level in three decades last year, a development Gov. Jeb Bush hailed as validation for his policies on gun control and criminal justice, says the St. Petersburg Times. Bush credited tougher penalties as one reason for the lower crime rate. He also said the figures show that controlling human behavior, not guns, is the way to reduce crime.”I think law-abiding citizens who have guns for protection are actually part of the reason we have a lower crime rate,” Bush said. “I don’t think that there’s a lot of data that suggests that gun control reduces crime.”
Criminologist Ronald Akers of the University of Florida said scholars were uncertain why the crime rate has steadily decreased nationwide since the 1980s. He said tougher sentences for criminals may have kept repeat offenders off the streets, but that demographic factors like an aging population may have played a role. “I would say there are some reasonable hypotheses, but no one has been able to come up with some hard data for why the crime rate has been steadily declining,” he said.