Crime rates are dropping dramatically in the last few years. With an ongoing recession the linear thinkers, that run this world, are baffled. They think that hard times would cause more crime. It is not so. What these linear thinkers fail to recognize is that we entered the Fourth Turning in the 2005 – 2008 time frame. Here is how Strauss and Howe describe what happens in a Fourth Turning. Remember they wrote the book in 1997. Crime rates always drop during a Fourth Turning. The author of this article makes a joke about the drop in crime because he has no idea why it is happening. I would suggest he buy a copy of The Fourth Turning so he’ll know what comes next.
A CRISIS arises in response to sudden threats that previously would have been ignored or deferred, but which are now perceived as dire. Great worldly perils boil off the clutter and complexity of life, leaving behind one simple imperative: The society must prevail. This requires a solid public consensus, aggressive institutions, and personal sacrifice.
People support new efforts to wield public authority, whose perceived successes soon justify more of the same. Government governs, community obstacles are removed, and laws and customs that resisted change for decades are swiftly shunted aside. A grim preoccupation with civic peril causes spiritual curiosity to decline. A sense of public urgency contributes to a clampdown on “bad” conduct or “anti-social” lifestyles. People begin feeling shameful about what they earlier did to absolve guilt. Public order tightens, private risk-taking abates, and crime and substance abuse decline. Families strengthen, gender distinctions widen, and child-rearing reaches a smothering degree of protection and structure. The young focus their energy on worldly achievements, leaving values in the hands of the old. Wars are fought with fury and for maximum result.
Eventually, the mood transforms into one of exhaustion, relief, and optimism. Buoyed by a new-born faith in the group and in authority, leaders plan, people hope, and a society yearns for good and simple things.
Crime rate drop welcome, but puzzling
Published: Wednesday, September 22, 2010
By: Dale McFeatters
Crime is down in the United States, in some categories dramatically so.
And no one seems to know quite why. Richard Rosenfeld, president of the American Society of Criminology, told the Associated Press the decline was “one of these welcome puzzles.”
Law-enforcement officials said it was due to “smarter policing.” Observers of these things note that when crime rates go up the same people never attribute it to “dumber policing.”
The proffered solution is inevitably more money for law enforcement. But the crime rates are dropping even though many police departments are operating on extremely cramped budgets. A few towns have been forced to disband their police departments for budget reasons.
In any case, the new FBI figures are welcome.
Violent crimes fell 5.3 percent last year from 2008, and are down for the third straight year. Property crimes are down for the seventh year in a row, down 4.6 percent from 2008. Murder is down by 7.3 percent; robbery by 8 percent; aggravated assault by 4.2 percent; and rape by 2.6 percent.
Most eye-opening of all was motor-vehicle theft, down 17.1 percent. Maybe the Obama administration’s Cash for Clunkers program was getting older cars — easier to steal and less likely to be locked — off the streets faster than the thieves could steal them.
Maybe car thieves with brand loyalty were so dismayed at what was happening to GM and Chrysler that they simply lost heart, figuring, “If a man can’t steal a Plymouth or Oldsmobile, why bother?”
Some analysts said the recession was responsible for the drop in crime. And that makes sense: With consumers having tapped out and not buying much, there’s less money and durable goods to steal.
But in previous recessions, in the 1970s and 1980s, the crime rates went up. The difference perhaps was that those recessions were in times of high inflation, giving robbers an incentive to take your money while it still held its value.
In a recession, more people are unemployed and thus not in a workplace where they would be vulnerable to a disgruntled ex-employee with an assault weapon. Instead, they would be at home during the day where they can keep at eye out for burglars.
Being broke, people don’t go out at night and thus are less likely to be mugged. And if folks do travel, the thieves know they’re probably not carrying much of value.
That may explain the victim side of the equation, but what about the perpetrator? And here the explanation may lie in demographics. We’re getting older.
The median age of Americans is the highest ever, over 35.3. The average age is 48.8 and rising a tenth to two-tenths a year. Criminals are not exempt from this trend.
The Justice Department says that between 1999 and 2007, the number of inmates 55 or older in state and federal prisons grew 76.9 percent, from 43,300 to 76,600.
And The Washington Post, in a story about a Virginia geriatric prison specifically built for the aged and infirm, notes that in 1995 the state had 900 inmates over 50; it now has 5,000.
Maybe the reason for the drop in crime is that the criminal class is getting old and decrepit. To get somebody to hand over a wallet, it’s probably best not to threaten him with your walker.