Denver’s murder tally for 2009 was the lowest since 2000 and the second-lowest since 1964, mirroring a national trend, says the Denver Post. “America is a much safer country,” said Jeff London, assistant professor of criminal justice at Metropolitan State College of Denver. An aging population, better crime tools, and lengthier prison terms contribute to a quarter-century-long trend of decreasing violence, experts say. One criminologist warns that that could change with the economy.
“Recession will erode the trend of dropping murder rates,” predicted Dr. Eric Hickey, dean of the California School of Forensic Studies at Alliant International University in Fresno. “You can only live with the strain of dealing with the recession so long before people start turning to crime.” In Denver, the number of murders has fallen 58 percent since 2004, from 91 that year to 38 in 2009. In Los Angeles, the number of murders dropped below an average of one a day for the first time in at least five years and fell 18 percent from 2008, from 382 to 313. London said one key factor pushing the dropping murder rate is that baby boomers are aging. There was an epidemic of crime in the 1970s, when baby boomers were in their teens and 20s. People “age out” or are less likely to commit crime as they get older.