Fox: Nothing Has Explained Lower Crime Rates, But They Might Not Last


A range of plausible explanations have been advanced to account for the downturn in lawlessness that this nation has enjoyed since the early 1990s, says criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University. Writing in the Boston Globe, Fox includes the end of the 1980s crack epidemic, improved police strategies that rely heavily on innovative technology and sophisticated crime analysis tools, expanded use of incarceration along with longer sentences that have kept more criminals off the streets, and the graying of America

Fox says some readers of his blog cite the growth in abortions, which reduced the number of children born to circumstances that would place them at-risk for growing into criminality. Fox believes the significance of this effect appears to have been grossly overstated. He also notes that “the abortion-crime hypothesis cannot explain the large drop in murder and other violent crime from the first six months of 2009 to the corresponding months of 2010. In fact, nothing really can.” He concludes, “The lower that crime rates plunge, and the more that budgets are cut for crime prevention and crime control initiatives, the greater the likelihood that crime rates will rebound. At some point, unfortunately, we may at some point look back and see these as the good old days.”

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