Is Smarter Policing Best Explanation For Crime Drop?


Hailing the drops in crime numbers around the U.S., the Minneapolis Star Tribune says, “The intriguing question is why. Criminology rivals economics as a dismal science, with experts constantly struggling to explain ups and downs. That crime should rise along with unemployment and desperation seemed a logical expectation — but apparently not.”

After listing some of the usually cited factors, such as longer prison terms, the decline of drug turf wars, and demographics, the newspaper said, “Our view is that smarter, more proactive police tactics have contributed most to crime’s decline. Reforms begun in New York in the 1980s are now routine nationwide. Officers stop known criminals for minor offenses, and guns are often confiscated. Computerized maps predict crime hot spots, and officers are dispatched to flood those zones. Gunfire detectors and cameras help patrol high-crime areas. Closer police-community partnerships have been forged in many cities. Police administrators are held accountable for lower crime numbers.”

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