Violent crime in Los Angeles hit its lowest level in more than half a century last year, one of a growing number of U.S. cities reporting its streets were remarkably safe in 2009, the Wall Street Journal reports. “The graying of America is a significant factor,” said criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University. “The largest and fastest growing segment of the population is people over 50. People over 50 also happen to be the age group that is the least likely to commit crimes. As the group grows, crime rates do decline.”
Fox said a common assumption that crime goes up during a recession is wrong. Historic data show there is little connection between economic conditions and crime, particularly violent crime. In Los Angeles, Police Chief Charlie Beck said, “It is inexplicable why these crime numbers are so good except for one thing: cops count, effective policing matters,” the Los Angeles Times reports.