Posts Tagged ‘Violent crime decline’

The decline of ‘stop and frisk’ in NYC

September 23, 2014


I’ve written posts about the injustice (and also the uselessness) of singling out young black men for police harassment, often leading to arrests for trivial or arbitrary reasons.   So I’m pleased to read a report in the New York Times, illustrated by many fine graphics such as the one above, that this practice is on the decline.

Of course there can be reasonable grounds why a police officer might regard someone as a suspicious character.  But those grounds should consist of more than being young, black and scruffy-looking.

The decline in stop-and-frisk has NOT resulted in a rise in crime.   Violent crime continues to decline in New York City, as it does almost everywhere else in the United States.   The chart below is based on national figures.



‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Is All But Gone From New York by Mike Bostock and Ford Fessenden for the New York Times.

Crime isn’t up by Peter Moskos for Cop in the Hood.  (And a hat tip to Moskos for the New York Times link)

[Added 10/2/14]  Mayor Bill de Blasio campaigned on a promise to end stop-and-frisk in New York City.  He deserves credit for a promise kept.

Why is the American homicide rate declining?

June 7, 2011

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Violent crime is on the decline in the United States.   The rise in crime during the 1960s and the continuing high violent crime rate in the 1970s and 1980s was an important issue during those years, despite the effort of some liberals to imply “law and order” was a code word for something else.  But current statistics indicate a violent crime rate as low as in the 1950s.

Nobody really understands why.

Some popular theories:

(1)  The United States has a high proportion of violent and potentially violent criminals behind bars and not on the street.

(2)  Legal abortion means there are fewer unwanted children to grow up to become alienated, violent adults.

(3)  Violent crime is a young man’s game, and the aging of the baby boom generation means a smaller proportion of the population in the crime-prone years.

I don’t claim to know the answer myself, but I wonder whether the ban on lead-based paint is a factor.  Scientific studies indicate that lead in a child’s bloodstream is linked to lower IQ and loss of neural motor functions, leading to impulsiveness, lack of self-control and anti-social behavior. Children in poor areas of large cities are prone to touching walls with peeling paint, and then licking their fingers, and they are exposed to environmental lead in other ways.

Somebody wrote a letter to the editor some weeks back in City newspaper, Rochester’s alternative weekly, saying that a principal of one of Rochester’s elementary schools once had the children in the school tested for levels of lead in their blood.  Every single one had elevated levels of blood.  I wonder what a test would show today.  I hope it would show improvement.

Another factor may be the religious revival of the past 20 or so years.  Religion, especially the more strict and conservative versions of religion, give people a sense of meaning, a community to belong to, help in maintaining self-control and self-respect based on something else besides violence.  Some historians credit religious revivals for the decline of crime in 19th century Britain and the United States. The same thing may be going on today.

Some people suggest that local police departments have simply become more restrictive in the way they report violent crime, and that actual crime may be higher than the figures indicate.  I don’t see how this would be possible.  There is leeway in deciding whether to report a crime as grand theft auto or unauthorized use of an automobile, but a killing is a killing.  I don’t see how selective reporting could mask it as something else.