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Old 05-09-2009, 07:33 PM
Location: M.
203 posts, read 486,198 times
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Taken from wikipedia...

"...Sociologists and criminologists have not reached consensus on what explains the dramatic decrease in the city's crime rate. Some attribute the phenomenon to new tactics used by the New York City Police Department, including its use of CompStat and the broken windows theory. Others cite the end of the crack epidemic and demographic changes..."

What do you think contributed to the lower crime rates in NYC over the years?
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:41 PM
454 posts, read 769,343 times
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Ex pat New Yorker here. I'd say reproductive choice, broken windows theory, economic prosperity, and the easing of the drug epidemic were all factors - no particular order to my answers.
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Old 05-09-2009, 10:29 PM
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Crime plummeted nationwide, not only in NYC. The puzzling thing about the crime drop -- neighborhoods with the same demographics as before, same social problems, same culture, had plummeting crime rates. My opinion is that the biggest reason was the ban on leaded paint/gasoline, and the requirement of rent stabilized apartments to paint each year. (reducing the lead paint risk) Before leaded gasoline was banned, the explosion in popularity of automobiles put a lot of inhalable lead into the air, which greatly added to the amount of lead in peoples bodies. (particularly children)

What makes Nevin's work persuasive is that he has shown an identical, decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries.
"Sixty-five to 90 percent or more of the substantial variation in violent crime in all these countries was explained by lead," Nevin said.
Cities like Baltimore and Detroit still have so many poor people living in delapidated housing that carries high risks of lead exposure, so the crime hasn't declined to nearly the same extent as NYC. The housing stock in NYC is much more valued/expensive, and more regulated - reducing lead poisoning. (less peeling paint hazards)

It's a fact that lead exposure as a child greatly increases a person's likelihood of engaging in criminal behavior as an adult - even when controlling for socioeconomic status.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:00 PM
76 posts, read 204,077 times
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Default Giuliani

Enough Said. And Bloomberg/Kelly continuing the policies.

Giuliani got his ideas from the Manhattan Institute, a local think tank. THat to me was "Presidential" in that he sought out wisdom from truly intellectual sources, and did not just surround himself with cronies - though there's always some.
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Old 05-10-2009, 11:54 PM
Location: Now in Houston!
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One theory I have read about the nationwide crime drop is that there are generational differences in the level of violence and tendency to commit crime, and that recent generations are simply less violent and more law-abiding.

I don't know how credible this theory is, but it sounds plausible as a contributing factor along with Steven Levitt's now famous and controversial "abortion theory" and the waning of the crack epidemic. I also believe in the Broken Windows theory.

Since most street crime is committed by young men, the crime spike of the late 60s to early 80s roughly coincides with the coming of age of the baby boom generation. The tendency of this generation, in its youth, to rebel against the established order manifested itself in acts of crime for a portion of this generation's young males. Contributing to this are the massive social changes that happened during this era.

As the baby boomers aged, the criminal element of this age group just got older and mellowed, much like the rest of the generation.

Also, subsequent generations are smaller, thus there are simply fewer young men around to commit crimes.

Sorry for any offense to the boomers reading this
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Old 05-11-2009, 07:51 AM
Location: NYC
304 posts, read 1,261,579 times
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No one really knows (or rather, legit, non-axe-grinding experts will _admit_ that they don't know), and the decline is attributed to numerous factors.

We _do_ know that we shouldn't mistake simultaneous events -- whether lead-paint removal, CompStat, or Giuliani -- for sole or major causes: Crime declined all over the U.S. (and even abroad), regardless of lead exposure or policing methods.

The NYC/U.S. factors normally cited are: relatively improved economy, end of the crack epidemic, aging of the population, improved social-housing-job-college programs, less dismissiveness re: lower-income folks' needs, community empowerment (as the rebellious became activists), AND varied policing efforts -- "broken windows," more effective enforcement, etc.

AGE: UpstaterInBklyn attributed the '60s-'80s crime spike to Baby Boomers' rebelliousness. But it wasn't just attitudinal rebellion: It was the '60s-'80s peak, or bubble, in percentage of teen-to-30 males, plus grim urban economies and joblessness. Too many broke, undirected, jobless, resentful, hopeless young guys = a formula for higher crime in urban areas ... or for rebellion, coups, and perma-war in a small country.
[We also have to differentiate among Boomer slices. Middle-class-white Boomers didn't face the social-economic hardship that nonwhites did. Many white Boomers made "rebellious"-but-safe anti-System noise in their youth, then put it behind them and climbed some career track. But the nonwhite/less-advantaged didn't have that luxury -- or the, ahem, "luxury" of committing white-collar crime -- and were reacting to considerably different, ongoing circumstances.]

LEAD PAINT ... is a serious issue, but doesn't work as a sole theory. U.S. kids were being sickened and killed by lead paint even pre-WWI, but we allowed the stuff long after other countries banned it, and didn't get serious re: childhood lead exposure until 40 years ago. Much of NYC's pre-WWI/WWII immigrant wave, and poor folks in general, lived in crumbling, lead-flaking housing, and all kids were exposed to lead pipes, lead toys, etc.
We can't correlate lead-paint abatement alone with less crime unless
(a) we have ample past crime-and-lead stats ... and we don't, since "pre-modern" testing was iffy; stats were usually limited to deaths, hospitalizations, or job-related cases; and no one was systematically testing any kids, much less poor kids, for lead exposure.
(b) we can show that crim. behavior absolutely tracks lead exposure (not easy, for many reasons); or show an overall decrease in lead-linked cognitive/other disorders that _might_ trigger antisocial behavior. (That presents a reporting problem, since those disabilities are _far_ more noticed and documented now than in past eras.)

At any rate ... it's a mix. But odds are that crime will climb (if not go back to Square One) if we have another males-under-30 peak during an economic/unemployment bust that disproportionately hits those for whom every day is _already_ an economic bust.
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