Hard Times, But Fewer Crimes

Crime rates are down sharply here in New York, and in other big cities as well. According to conventional “root-causes” wisdom, the hard economic times we’ve had for the past year should have driven crime up, but instead it has fallen off dramatically, and is now at record-low levels. What’s going on? The Manhattan Institute’s Heather MacDonald argues that it’s due to more effective policing, in particular the “Compstat” policies of Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton and New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.


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  1. chris g says

    Yeah, for serious crimes maybe it’s food stamps, or maybe it’s three strikes.

    If petty crimes are down it’s because the police discourage you to report crimes in NYC. My bike was stolen and the police grumbled, “we’ll take the report, but really why bother?” I nabbed a snatch & grabber and the owner of the store didn’t even bother calling the police.

    Posted January 6, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Well, bike thefts are one thing, but homicides are at the lowest levels ever recorded. What you say may be true, but I hardly think it accounts for the drop. For example, my own car used to get broken into regularly, and it hasn’t now for years. I haven’t even heard of a car being broken into on my block for ages.

    Posted January 6, 2010 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  3. Jeanie Oliver says

    This is the wrong post, but you should have the happy feeling of educating your readers!

    Just now, laying on the floor doing some breathing exercises, I glanced backward and upside down at the commercial on tv. There was a giant magnet picking up cans of broth that were not as good as Swansons. Right in front was College Inn broth!! I would never have known or paid attention to the commercial if it weren’t for you!!!
    oh, well, maybe a smile for you on a cold New York day,

    Posted January 6, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Thanks Jeanie! You made my day.

    Posted January 7, 2010 at 12:30 am | Permalink
  5. JK says

    I’m no criminologist and so can’t make any “scientific analysis” but I think maybe one of the limiting factors is that would-be criminals can’t afford to buy gas for the getaway car.

    Posted January 7, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Permalink
  6. Chris G says

    Someone told me last night that crime rates are trending lower because of Roe vs. Wade.

    Posted January 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Yes, that’s an idea that’s been around. A good friend of mine is a man named Anthony Bouza, who was police commander for the Bronx back in the 70’s, and later the chief of the Minneapolis police department (he’s written several interesting books about policing). He’s been saying this for some time now.

    The notion makes a lot of sense. I’m all for eugenics.

    Posted January 12, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink
  8. AB says

    Murder, assault and robbery were also greatly reduced in the thirties, during the great Depression (silverman, 1983) and people were already scratching their heads about it then. Hard to relate this to 1930’s or 1920’s birthrates, eugenics, abortion policies, etc. No?

    Posted January 20, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink