Declining Crime Rates

Does better policing account for the reduction?


Crime has been going down in the United States since 1991. In New York, Fort Worth and other cities, police are cracking down on quality-of-life offenses like public drinking and aggressive panhandling and claiming credit for the big drops in violent crime that follow. But New York, traditionally a high-crime city, is responsible for a big chunk of the nationwide decline. Skeptics credit the declining statistics to the improving economy, the fading of the crack wars and the maturing of the baby boomers, rather than new policing tactics. The only way to drive down crime in the long run, these experts argue, is to mend the nation's social fabric, especially racial and class disparities in education and employment.

An innovative gang outreach program in Boston, Mass., ...

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