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Crime Keeps on Falling

Despite the fact that we are in the biggest recession in probably 40 years, crime keeps declining nationwide. Not only is it declining, it is dropping fast. For example, BusinessWeek just ran a story stating that the murder rate in New York City is set to hit a 46-year low this year. The AP is also reporting that across the nation killings have dropped by 10 percent over the last year, other violent crime has declined by 4.4 percent, and property crime has declined by 6.1 percent, despite high unemployment and foreclosures.

The guys at the Freakonomics blog at the New York Times note that the link between the economy and crime is tenuous at best even though many criminologists believe the link to be strong.

Former LA Police Chief, William Bratton, had this to say:

Police have gotten much better at analyzing numbers and responding quickly. Los Angeles has been in an economic downturn almost two years ahead of the country and is now in its eighth straight year of crime decline.

In other words, the “puzzling” crime decline is not magic at all—and not tied to the economy. It is the result of hard-working police officers, command staff, and analysts, who have—over the past 30 years or so—implemented community-based programs, more effective analysis techniques, and accountability and tracking measures, like Bratton’s CompStat.

Good work guys, and thanks for your service.

Get on the National Crime Map at