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August 11, 2013

New National Academy of Sciences effort seeking to unpack the crime decline

As reported via this helpful piece at The Crime Report, some really important and smart folks are now hard at work trying to understand fully the modern US crime decline. Here are the basics of the effort as explained in the start of this linked report:

The crime level has dropped in the United States over the past two decades, but definitive explanations are lacking. With funding from the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice, the National Academy of Sciences has organized a project to address that important issue. In a chat with The Crime Report’s Washington Bureau Chief Ted Gest, criminologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri-St. Louis — who heads the effort — explains the project’s aims, reports on the topics covered at the first sessions in Washington in June, and explains why it would be a “bad bet” to assume the crime drop will continue indefinitely.

The Crime Report: How is this project organized?

Richard Rosenfeld: It is a so-called “roundtable” on crime trends.  The group met in June, and we plan to hold five more sessions over the next three years to hear from experts about various aspects of changes in crime rates over time, both in the United States and elsewhere.  We’re primarily focusing on changes in the United States over the last several decades, but at our first meeting we also talked about centuries-long changes in Europe and the U.S., going back to colonial America.  This is a broad and comprehensive look at changes over time in crime, and some of the factors connected with those changes.

TCR: Who is involved?

Rosenfeld: There are 16 members of the roundtable.  Twelve are academics, including nine criminologists: myself, Eric Baumer of Florida State University, Shawn Bushway of the University at Albany (SUNY), Manuel Eisner of the University of Cambridge, Susan Herman of Pace University, Dan Isom of the University of Missouri-St. Louis (a former police chief); Janet Lauritsen of the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Maria Velez of the University of New Mexico, and David Weisburd of George Mason University and The Hebrew University.  The other academics are public health expert David Hemenway of Harvard; historian Randolph Roth of Ohio State University, and economist Jose Scheinkman of Princeton University.  Non-academics in the group are Jim Bueermann, a former police chief who now heads the Police Foundation, District Attorney George Gascon of San Francisco; Maxine Hayes, Washington State Health Officer, and Florida Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman.

TCR: Tell us about the first two sessions.

Rosenfeld: We met in Washington, D.C., for two days in June. The five public sessions covered these topics: U.S. crime trends in historical perspective, trends disaggregated by offense type, regional and local variations; gender, race and ethnicity of victims and offenders; and U.S. crime trends in international perspective. The content of the presentations, all of which were made by roundtable members, may be seen at this site.

At our next meeting, which will also be in Washington, at an early December date to be determined, we will focus on the “lead hypothesis,” that the removal of lead from paint and gasoline resulted in crime declines some years later and may largely explain the crime drop.  We’ll hear from people who have researched that topic.  We haven’t yet set the agendas for the four sessions that will follow that.

A few related posts on modern crime rates: 

August 11, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

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Comments

The usual stale left wing ideology analysis is expected.

There will never be a mention of 1) obesity epidemic, too fat to mug people; 2) video addiction; 3) the great wealth of the poor; 4) the potency and ubiquity of marijuana, making people lethargic, instead of violent as alcohol does; 5) possibly the drop in blood lead levels; 5) criminality as fashion trend, now out of fashion.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 11, 2013 1:05:13 PM

Also there will never be a mention of the mandatory sentencing guidelines of 1984, the greatest lawyer achievement of the 20th Century, dropping crime across the board by 40%, including the prevention of 1000's of murders of black males.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 11, 2013 1:07:34 PM

"At our next meeting, which will also be in Washington, at an early December date to be determined, we will focus on the 'lead hypothesis,' that the removal of lead from paint and gasoline resulted in crime declines some years later and may largely explain the crime drop."

"Lead hypothesis" = "Fix is already in"

Look at who's financing this thing. My goodness, it's a group directly controlled by Eric Holder! Holder's current campaign is to reduce imprisonment, because that what his party's liberal and trial lawyer constituent groups want (and also because by the time the chickens come home to roost, Holder will be out of office and making a million bucks a year at some fat firm).

In order to lay the groundwork for reducing imprisonment, it has to be "found" that imprisoning criminals has little or nothing to do with reducing crime. And that's the set-up here, in case anyone was wondering.

Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has known that there's a strong relationship between crime and punishment. We are about to find out, however, that this isn't so, and that WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON is that there's a strong relationship between crime and paint.

P.S. The Commission could announce its pre-determined findings even more quickly if it would add that pre-eminent scholar from Columbia, Prof. Kathy Boudin.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 11, 2013 4:43:11 PM

Why go to all the trouble and expense? All they have to do is ask Mr. Bill. Indeed, they could just copy and paste Mr. Bill's rants into a report. Done. Life and the meaning of the universe solved. And the answer is ... punishment.

Posted by: George | Aug 11, 2013 8:01:37 PM

Theory of why murder has dropped?

The election of Dear Leader Barack Obama.

So help me, that is in one of the presentations.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 11, 2013 8:03:37 PM

George --

"Why go to all the trouble and expense?"

Because it looks better if it gets gussied up as empirical, rather than a bought-and-paid-for artifact for Holder's please-the-constituents campaign.

"All they have to do is ask Mr. Bill."

My fee is a bit steep for them. It will suffice if they just look at the last 40 years.

"Indeed, they could just copy and paste Mr. Bill's rants into a report. Done. Life and the meaning of the universe solved. And the answer is ... punishment."

No, no, Mr. George. The answer is to let the lot of them loose right now, since we know the recidivism rate is zero.

I mean, it is zero..............isn't it?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 11, 2013 9:28:18 PM

Mr. Bill: "No, no, Mr. George. The answer is to let the lot of them loose right now, since we know the recidivism rate is zero. I mean, it is zero..............isn't it?"

No. Find one post by anyone, anyone at anytime, anywhere on this site that argues that. You can't, and isn't that kind of like the lying you accused Holder of doing a few days back?

In fact, I'll bet you can't find a Free Everyone argument anywhere on the 'Net. Even the inmates themselves don't think everyone should go free. And most don't mind serving proportionate sentences after due process that don't entail rule changes after the fact.

Posted by: George | Aug 12, 2013 2:48:51 AM

George --


I'll wait for you first to tell me where I said I was going to explain life and the meaning of the universe.

Don't start a bluster game if you don't want others to play.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 12, 2013 9:05:41 AM

SC --

Did these guys really say they were going to examine the election of Barack Obama as a reason crime has been going down? Could you give me the cite to that?

If they did, that is truly a golden nugget as to how utterly politicized this bunch of academics is.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 12, 2013 9:08:43 AM

Prof. Roth, a little selective in statistics. I guess Chicago, Detroit, Philly, DC must have gone for Romney or Bush, because their homicides increased.

Here cities of different sizes with the lowest and highest crime rates. See if anyone can discern a pattern of party preference.

http://os.cqpress.com/citycrime/2011/CityCrimePopRank2011.pdf

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 13, 2013 5:12:00 AM

Bill: Three attempts to post the passages in question. All were lost. Go to your Facebook page. I put the passages you wanted on Facebook.

The above comment rebuts the argument without any research.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Aug 13, 2013 10:26:01 PM

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