Why Crime Fell In The 1990s: The Decrease In Crime

783 Words4 Pages

Contrary to the common belief, crime has been on the decline for the past three decades. Yet, news and media have been covering crime more than ever, resulting in the public belief that crime is at an all time high. The sharp drop in crime since the early 1990s has left experts curious to discover the reasons for the decrease in crime. As I compare the article Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not by Steven D. Levitt and the article Evaluating Contemporary Crime Drop(s) in America, New York City, and Many Other Places by Eric P. Baumer and Kevin T. Wolff, I will briefly describe the articles, compare their agreements and disagreements, as well as discuss my personal preferences. …show more content…

Many factors of the crack epidemic influenced the crime drop. First, the “precipitous rise in crack cocaine in the mid-to-late 1980s in America” made violence and crime increase drastically (Baumer and Wolff, 2014, p. 21). Since crime shot up, it made statistics seem to drop even more in the 1990s, especially for homicides, as stated by Levitt (2004). The shift from young people to a “graying” society is another point at which Baumer, Wolff and Levitt can all agree could be a cause for the crime drop of the 1990s (Baumer and Wolff, 2014, p. 20). As Levitt (2004) stated “those over the age of 65 experience victimization rates for serious violent crime that are less than one-tenth of those of teenagers” (p. 171) and since the young population got older, the crime followed in trend.
One of Levitt’s main four causes of the 1990s crime was the legalization of abortion in the 1970s. Levitt argued that unwanted children were at higher risk for crime and the legalization of abortion reduced the number of unwanted children. His hypothesis was brought about because “the five states that allowed abortion in 1970… experienced declines in crime rates earlier than the rest of the country” (Levitt, 2004, p. 182). His statistics are compelling, but the reasoning seems slightly irrelevant, as argued by Baumer and

Open Document