Why Has Crime Dropped Tremendously Over the Past Two Decades?

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David Brooks writes today that violent crime has dropped tremendously over the past couple of decades despite the fact that it’s gotten easier and easier to buy a gun. So maybe we should focus on something other than guns:

Now we are in the middle of another debate about violence. If we lived in a purely rational society, this debate would have started with a series of questions: What explains the tremendous drop in violence? How can we build on recent efforts to bring the murder rate even lower? These general questions would have led to a series of more specific questions about police procedures, probably the most direct way to prevent shootings.

Call on me! I know the answer! Please, please, please…..

For a longer and more comprehensive take on this, I recommend Mark Kleiman’s piece on crime and punishment in the current issue of Democracy. It’s well worth a few minutes of your time.

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