Since the 1990s, the crime rate in the United States has dropped steadily. The drop in crime has been so startling that it has caused experts to look back at the circumstances that may have contributed to the decreased rate. What they found was a number of different societal changes that could have helped the society to be less violent, in an overall sense.
1 – An Aging Population
The aging of the Baby Boomer generation is thought to be having a significant effect on the crime rate in America. Statistics show that most crimes involve people in their 20s and 30s, so the aging of a large demographic beyond this prime age group would necessarily cause a related drop in the crime rate.
2 – Better Security Technology
Over recent years, the security technology industry has boomed, offering many easy-to-use systems for homes and businesses. This technology has discouraged many opportunists from taking advantage of what would be easy pickings in earlier times. Gas stations and small stores are now under continuous surveillance, and the odds of getting caught have increased significantly. These developments have made many crimes of opportunity less attractive.
3 – Stronger Law Enforcement & Incarceration
For good or for bad, increased policing of our streets and mandatory sentencing has caused many potential criminals to be removed from the community. Although, these measures may have reduced the overall crime rate, mass incarceration increases other problems of employment, drug use and family disintegration.
4 – CompStat to Target High Crime Areas
Technology has also allowed the development of the CompStat system that allows law enforcement agencies to track crimes in specific neighborhoods and apply their resources more effectively in targeted locations. This ability has allowed these agencies to serve their communities more effectively.
5 – Legalized Abortion
Some data suggest that that the legalization of abortion after 1973 helped to reduce the number of children born into disadvantageous circumstances that often lead these individuals into crime as young adults. Although this theory is controversial, it may be that the reduction of children born into poverty has benefited the society as a whole.
6 – The Election of Barack Obama as President
Some researchers believe that the election of Barack Obama and the country first African-American president had a profound effect on the image of many young black men in the black community, giving them increased self-worth and pride that discourage them from engaging in violent and criminal acts.
7 – Higher Education
Research has also shown that getting a higher education helps to reduce crime rates. Often times when one receives a higher education, they are less likely to enter a life of crime as their education will lead to a career field with a steady salary. For example, if you are receiving an online master’s degree in criminal justice, you will be more likely to enter a career that fights crime rather than committing the crimes yourself.
Most experts feel that it is a combination of many factors that have helped to lower the crime rate the country is currently enjoying, and they foresee that the downturn will continue for some time into the future.