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Murder Rates Plummet February 2, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in In The News.
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How Low Can the Crime Rate Go? – TIME
It was less than two decades ago that the country’s crime wizards were warning of a unprecedented, bloody spike as a super-predator generation — kids armed with equally menacing weapons and attitudes — inflamed gang and drug wars; murders hit over 2,000 in New York and nearly 1,000 in Chicago during the early 1990s. Many theories for the decline over the past decade and more have been floated; from the Freakonomics suggestion that legalizing abortion effectively wiped out a population of would-be criminals, to the decline of the crack epidemic, to an increase in law-abiding immigrants, to savvier police work, technology and just plain economics.

The FBI recently reported that homicides fell by 6.5% in the country’s biggest cities — those with populations of one million and up — through the first six months of 2007, and by about 1% across the U.S. Violent crime, overall, was off by about 2%. Even more astoundingly, New York City ended 2007 with 496 murders, the lowest number since 1963 [when statistics were first collected] — spurring New York magazine to ask the provocative question, “What would it take [for the murder rate] to go all the way to zero?” Chicago, bruised by enough scandal to unseat its superintendent of police, still managed to record just 443, the fewest since 1965 and the fourth straight year of logging under 500 murders.

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