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May 26, 2011

Interesting Brookings report on US crime rates in various regions

As detailed in this press release, the Brookings Institution has released an interesting report about declining crime rates in the US.  Here are the particulars:

The new report, City and Suburban Crime Trends in Metropolitan America, finds that factors like immigration, ethnicity, and poverty, when combined, do not play the roles in encouraging crime many might believe they do.

“Many people know the rates of violent and property crimes have declined significantly in recent years,” said Steven Raphael, Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley and one of the report authors.  “What may come as a surprise is that some of the social characteristics we have associated with crime in the past are not associated with criminal behavior as they were once upon a time.  Crime rates have dropped everywhere, but they have declined the most in the nation’s inner cities that are often poorer, more urbanized, and more minority than their suburban counterparts.” ...

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Rates of violent crime and property crime declined significantly between 1990 and 2008 in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, with the largest decreases occurring in cities.   Violent crime rates dropped by almost 30 percent in cities, while property crime fell by 46 percent.  Though city crime rates remain considerably above those in suburbs, smaller decreases in suburban violent and property crime rates over this time period (7 percent and 37 percent, respectively) narrowed the gap.
  • The gap between city and suburban violent crime rates declined in nearly two-thirds of metro areas.  In 90 of the 100 largest metro areas, the gap between city and suburban property crime rates narrowed from 1990 to 2008.  In most metro areas, city and suburban crime rates rose or fell together.
  • Among suburban communities, older high-density suburbs registered the largest declines in crime rates.  All types of suburban communities saw property crime rates fall over this time period.  Cities and high-density suburbs also saw violent crime rates decline, but low-density exurban communities experienced slight increases that are not explained by their changing demographics.
  • As crime rates fell and communities diversified, relationships between crime and community demographic characteristics weakened significantly.  The association between crime and community characteristics — like the proportion of the population that is black, Hispanic, poor, or foreign-born — diminished considerably.

The full report from the Brookings folks is available at this link.

May 26, 2011 at 04:56 PM | Permalink


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For an interesting compare and contrast of the discussion of the crime rate, see Teenage Sexuality in Nazi Germany . The debate was very similar.

Posted by: George | May 26, 2011 6:24:32 PM

"The UCR data provide counts of crimes reported to the police for each police agency (referred to as a reporting unit in the UCR data)
by month."

Please. Do not waste anyone's time with garbage based on garbage. To draw conclusions from counts of crime provided by self-interested agencies is outrageous intellectual malpractice. The sole conclusion possible from these data is that the police are throwing reports away in the trash, to avoid getting yelled at by politicians. Or, they are making it difficult ot report, or discouraging reports, and throwing victims out on th street before they could complete a form.

The sole valid measure of crime is the crime victim survey of the DOJ, where they poll households. Fascinating coincidence. The data for the household survey stop in 2007. The survey, the very best methodology in the world, is stopped for redesign.

The Wire covered this subject thoroughly, the manipulation of crime reports for political purposes. That fictional account is far more truthful than this left wing propaganda.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 27, 2011 4:50:55 AM

Part of any drop in the murder rate is from advances in trauma care learned in combat. The number of deaths prevented in the streets may far exceed the number of deaths in combat. In Vietnam, the concept of the Golden Hour emerged. So lots of helicopter flights for high way crash victims or attempted murder victims. In Iraq, the surgeon set up shop within hundreds of yards of the battle field rather than having hazardous helicopter flights to centralized field hospitals. Indeed, surgeons to be deployed to front lines prepare by spending six months in trauma centers in inner city hospitals, where combat conditions prevail. So, if you are going to Fallujah, as a surgeon, spend six months in Detroit, and feel right at home when arriving in Fallujah.

The experiences are harrowing, but this is recommended reading, On Call in Hell by Richard Jadick. Or the textbook on War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq.

No mention of that simple factor in the report. Oh, come on.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 27, 2011 5:10:34 AM

George: Nice title for an Italian sexploitation film. "Fraulein, you must fulfill your duty to the Fatherland."

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | May 27, 2011 5:15:18 AM

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