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'We Agree on the Bigger Issue'

The Charles Koch Institute is led by one of the richest men in the nation. Perhaps that's why its criminal justice reform summit in New Orleans this week defied conventions for gatherings of its kind. The three-day conference, called “Advancing Justice: An Agenda for Human Dignity & Public Safety,” was billed by one of its organizers as “transideological.” The two governors who spoke at the conference – Democrat Jack Markell from Delaware and Republican Asa Hutchinson from Arkansas – did […]

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Why Immigrant Communities Have Less Crime

Do strong ties to family and neighborhood institutions explain why immigrant communities experience less crime and delinquency than communities of native-born residents? Building on previous research that determined foreign-born youth are less likely to commit violent acts, a study in the journal Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice tries to pinpoint why. Its findings are inconclusive. In “The Power of Place Revisited: Why Immigrant Communities Have Lower Levels of Adolescent Violence,” researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent […]

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Most Americans Think Crime Is Rising, Whether Or Not It Actually Is

Seven in 10 Americans believe there is more crime in the U.S. now than there was a year ago, up slightly from the 63 percent who said that last year, says Gallup’s annual crime survey, conducted this month. Only 18 percent believe say there is less crime, and 8 percent say the level has stayed the same. Since Gallup first began asking Americans in 1989 about their perceptions of crime, majorities generally have said crime had worsened compared with the […]

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New Orleans Cuts Gang Homicides By 32 percent

Deterrence programs that focus law enforcement resources on known gangs are a promising violence prevention measure in urban areas with a history of lethal violence, according to a study published in the American Society of Criminology Journal Criminology & Public Policy. In “Assessing the Impact of Focused Deterrence on Serious Violence in New Orleans,” researchers evaluated whether a focused deterrence program could reduce violence in a “chronic and high-trajectory homicide setting” such as New Orleans, and found the outcome to […]

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A Pivotal Season For Justice, Or Just More Talk?

Will this Fall prove to be a pivotal one for criminal justice in the United States, or just another flurry of talk with little decisive action? Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced its most significant bill in years on federal crime, one that could roll back many categories of mandatory sentences that have helped pack prisons and strain the Justice Department’s budget. A few hours later, President Barack Obama welcomed to the White House a new group of police chiefs […]

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Richard Rosenfeld

Crime Wave? What Crime Wave?

Recent press accounts have the nation's big cities in the throes of a “new crime wave.” Police chiefs and mayors have lobbied the federal government for assistance in combatting violent crime. In response, Attorney General Loretta Lynch held a “Summit on Violent Crime” in Washington on October 7th that brought together chiefs, mayors and federal officials to address the crime increase and discuss policy options. I attended that meeting and had the chance to ask FBI Director James Comey a […]

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Violence, Property Crime Reports Fell Last Year In U.S., FBI Says

Violent crimes reported to law enforcement agencies nationwide dropped .2 percent last year compared with 2013, the FBI said today. The estimated number of property crimes declined 4.3 percent during the same period. The report might lessen some concern about violent crime increases being reported in several major U.S. cities this year, although the FBI’s national data for 2014 don’t contradict crime rises in some areas after the figures released today were compiled. (In August, for example, the New York […]

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Fear and Loathing in the LAPD

The transformation of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) over the past two decades from a once-feared “occupation” force into a community-conscious law enforcement agency is one of the country's most riveting stories. Award-winning author Joe Domanick's critically acclaimed new book, Blue: The LAPD and the Battle to Redeem American Policing, raises the question of whether the reforms begun by Chief Bill Bratton, and continued by his successor Charlie Beck, have changed the behavior of rank-and-file cops—and whether LA's experience […]

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Weaning America Off Violent Crime Stats

It's been 175 years since London's Sir Robert Peel codified the foundational precepts of law enforcement, including this one: “The absence of crime is the best proof of a police department's efficiency.” And that proof is usually provided by comparative statistics: this year's stickups, break-ins and butchery vs. last year's. The media, police commanders, politicians and the public have hewn closely to that number-crunching convention since Peel's time in order to measure the ebb and flow of lawlessness. It was […]

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How to Restore Trust in the Police

This is a difficult time for policing. Notwithstanding the historically low crime rate we currently enjoy, public confidence in the police is the lowest it has been since 1993, when murders and property crimes were near their peak. Police departments can turn things around. We know this because they have done so before. Thirty years ago, police agencies across America were facing a crisis. The crime level was soaring, on its way from less than 300,000 violent crimes annually in […]