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October 1, 2014

More proof of ________?: violent crime hits historic lows in crazy California

I have long thought sentencing fans and criminal-justice reformers should always pay special attention to happenings in California because the state so often seems like a model of every ugly facet dysfunctional sentencing law and politics.  The state's death penalty system has been more fiction than reality for decades as condemned killers stack up (and expire) on death row while almost nobody ever gets executed.  The state's criminal laws and sentencing structures have been subject to very little well-planned policy-mkaing in part because of the passage of many competing voter initiatives and elected officials often unable to champion sound reforms because of various cross-cutting political concerns.  And the state's corrections system has been beset with more constitutional issues and practical problems than one can name.

And yet, California must be doing something right: as this local article reports in its headline, in 2013 "California murder, violent crime rates hit 50-year low."  Here are the details, which prompts the "fill-in-the-blank" game appearing in the title of this post:

Californians today are less likely to be murdered or fall victim to violent crime than during any other time since the 1960s, according to new figures from the California Department of Justice.

The murder rate last year was 4.6 killings per 100,000 California residents, an 8 percent decline from 2012 and a 64 percent decline from 1993, when cities throughout the state struggled to stop gang killings.  The violent crime rate last year was 397 per 100,000 Californians, down 7 percent from 2012 and a 64 percent decline from 1992.

Experts have a variety of explanations for the decline, which is a long-term, nationwide trend.  Top theories include better policing methods that utilize data to pinpoint crime hotspots, harsher criminal sentences for repeat crime offenders and a sharp drop in gang warfare.

But the trend has also confounded many predictions. Some anticipated that California prison realignment would increase violent crime.  It hasn't.  Others decried the rise of violent video games and music, but those forms of entertainment have been around for decades now and crime continues to fall.  Others believed desperation from the Great Recession would increase crime.  It didn't.

Because I struggle to find any other especially good explanation for modern crime trends, I keep returning to the lead poisoning data and claims. (Notably and disappointingly, the lead-exposure-crime connection fails to get mentioned in most modern discussions of crime rates and yet that connection continues to explain modern crime trends as well (if not much better) than any other theory put forth by criminologists these days.)

Some recent related posts:

October 1, 2014 at 05:05 PM | Permalink


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Assume, this fall in crime is real, and not a cover up of a catastrophic escalation of violence from loosing those criminals by the vile pro-criminal lawyer.

There are about a dozen factors coming together in a place and time to cause a crash of a car or of an airplane. Something involving the choices made by millions of people likely has many factors. So the best view is to try to list the multiple potential factors.

I have come to accept the lead level theory after seeing a longitudinal study of real people. Its advocates also say, it correlates with the bastardy rate.

Add: the obesity rate, too fat to fight, the video addiction, too busy to fight, the greater use of dope by young people today than the extremely crimogenic use of alcohol, the flooding of California by immigrants with their lower crime rates, lower rates of bastardy, and lower rate of being feminists, higher rates of family values, the great wealth associated with welfare, where the poor are now too rich and snobby to commit crimes, with benefits now worth over $60,000 a year. A flood of porn, including child porn, yes, that lowers sex crimes.

And yes the mandatory guidelines, yes they have been gutted by the lawyer traitor on the Supreme Court, especially that rent seeking, pro-criminal subhuman, cruel, heartless, a piece of subhuman filth, Antonin Scalia. However, all those millions of criminal who spent the 90's and the 2000's in stir? They did not inseminate dozens of crack whore hussies, thereby not spawning dozens of super predators each. And then those super predators that were not born? They did not spawn dozens of super predators each. So those mandatory guidelines had an exponential benefit to the nation, not just an arithmetic one from the incapacitation of the actual living millions of super predators, protected and kept alive by the lawyer traitor to the nation to generate a few lousy government make work jobs. I hope Bill picks up on this effect, which has never been proposed.

As to the Twilight Zone claim of the lawyer traitor to the nation that so many non-violent offenders have been imprisoned, try to sell drugs in the territory of those non-violent drug dealers in prison. See what happens to you.

Lastly, there are fashions. In the 1980's it was cool to beat up old ladies in the projects elevator, today it just may be less cool.

No doubt people smarter than I will come up with other factors to such a complex problem.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 1, 2014 11:10:49 PM

I have a different theory than the Scalia hater above. CA in the last few years has had to consede the fact that people in CA can defend themselves with a firearm outside the home. Concealed carry has been denied for decades but the open carry suit forced the law enforcement into a corner and they had to start allowing CCW which allows those who don't have a record to legally defend themselves. We saw the same thing in other states who have been forced or who have recognized the right the bear arms. Thanks to the judges (Scalia included) who know how to read the constitution.

Posted by: Christian Reynolds | Oct 3, 2014 8:37:56 AM

CCW, really?? Complete bullshit.

Posted by: CA Native | Oct 3, 2014 7:11:28 PM

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