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Crime rate down 5% nationwide according to FBI

A neighborhood watch sign.
A neighborhood watch sign.
hsivonen/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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Tough economic times lead to more crime, right? Not necessarily. FBI statistics out today show a 5% drop in the national crime rate that follows the trend of decreased crime over the last two decades. Violent crime is down too—nearly 10 of every 100,000 Americans were murdered in 1991, that rate has since been cut in half. What’s behind the crime drop? Do better policing and decreased influence of crack cocaine tell the whole story? Are more people in prison? And when will we know the toll the recession takes?


John Conklin, Professor of Sociology, Tufts University

Mark A.R. Kleiman, Professor of Public Policy at UCLA, editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis and author of When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment