MURDERS ARE DOWN, ECONOMIC DISTRESS IS UP?
What’s up with that?
Jay B. Gaskill
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As we linger in the dark well of the worst
recession in recent memory, many urban jurisdictions are now reporting (
You may doubt this is actually taking place. Here are some links:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-09-09-crime_x.htm [Steep national decline]
Years ago I was invited by the Alameda County Sheriff to address the graduating class of his peace officers; training academy.
My address is posted here: http://www.jaygaskill.com/sheriff.html.htm.
Among the points I made was this: Crime is not caused by or even strongly correlated with economic poverty. Even in the Great Depression general crime did not go up, Al Capone notwithstanding.
The overall crime rate is sensitive to a number of factors, notably the visible deterrent effect of a welcome police presence and the underlying morality of the non-criminal population (something I’ve called civilization’s ‘moral infrastructure’).
Therefore in the
In the current recession, more families are at home and more people are looking out for each other....and crime goes down.
Francis Fukuyama connected some of these dots in his book, The Great Disruption (1999 – link to Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Great-Disruption-Nature-Reconstitution-Social/dp/068484530X ). He linked crime increases to the disruptive migration patterns that took apart existing networks of social relationships that had constituted our “social capital” when life patterns were more stable. The missing piece in his analysis, in my opinion, was the health - or lack thereof – of the underlying moral framework.
The “moral infrastructure” piece was separately disrupted by a bit of cultural insanity that is just now fading away. This damage to the underlying morality of the non-criminal population was the unintended consequence of an outbreak of postmodern neo-tribal multiculturism. Suddenly legitimacy was given to the perverse notion that thugs who belong to “oppressed” tribes were to be spared as an act of “social consciousness”, and that the beleaguered gendarmes who answered our 911 calls were to be mistrusted because they “work for the ruling class”.
That nonsense has almost run its course. My first indication of the healthy
counter-trend took place several years ago in
Yes, times are tough. But there is a silver lining.
The author, a well known trial and appellate lawyer, served as the Alameda County (CA) Public Defender from 1989-99, then left his “life of crime” to pursue writing and general trouble making. His profile is located at: www.jaygaskill.com/Profile.pdf
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