Many theories-from the routine to the bizarre-have been offered up to explain the crime decline of the 1990s. Was it record levels of imprisonment? An abatement of the crack cocaine epidemic? More police using better tactics? Or even the effects of legalized abortion? And what can we expect from crime rates in the future? Franklin E. Zimring here takes on the experts, and counters with the first in-depth portrait of the decline and its true significance. The major
lesson from the 1990s is that relatively superficial changes in the character of urban life can be associated with up to 75% drops in the crime rate. Crime can drop even if there is no major change in the population, the economy or the schools.
Offering the most reliable data available, Zimring documents the decline as the longest and largest since World War II. It ranged across both violent and non-violent offenses, all regions, and every demographic. All Americans, whether they live in cities or suburbs, whether rich or poor, are safer today. Casting a critical and unerring eye on current explanations, this book demonstrates that both long-standing theories of crime prevention and recently generated theories fall far short of
explaining the 1990s drop. A careful study of Canadian crime trends reveals that imprisonment and economic factors may not have played the role in the U.S. crime drop that many have suggested.
There was no magic bullet but instead a combination of factors working in concert rather than a single cause that produced the decline. Further-and happily for future progress- it is clear that declines in the crime rate do not require fundamental social or structural changes. Smaller shifts in policy can make large differences.
The significant reductions in crime rates, especially in New York, where crime dropped twice the national average, suggests that there is room for other cities to repeat this astounding success. In this definitive look at the great American crime decline, Franklin E. Zimring finds no pat answers but evidence that even lower crime rates might be in store.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 532 g
Dimensions: 242 x 165 x 24 mm
"When you examine a complicated matter such as the crime reduction in the U.S., seeking the causes for such reductions, be prepared for statistics. But it is worth it, particularly when one finds that New York City's drop in crime in all seven index crime rates are 'roughly double the national average.' Reading this book will greatly enhance your understanding of this crucial issue and put you on the path to becoming an expert."-Edward I. Koch, 105th Mayor of New
"'Success has many fathers,' and the Great Crime Decline of the 1990s is no exception. Who or what should actually get the credit? Frank Zimring provides an engaging guide to the data and the principal claimants for paternity. There are no simple answers here, but the reader will be rewarded with fresh and important lessons about crime, crime control, and the criminological enterprise, delivered with his usual wit and verve."-Philip J. Cook, Duke
"The crime drop of the 1990s was an important phenomenon that has led many scholars to search for the factors that contributed to it. Frank Zimring, one of the most prolific and important scholars of crime and criminal justice, addresses others' perspectives, some critically and some with valuable elaboration, and adds a number of his own. The result is a very readable volume that answers some questions and raises many more for future research."-Alfred Blumstein,
Carnegie Mellon University
"The Great American Crime Decline poses a vigorous and thoughtful challenge to existing theories and research on American crime trends. Zimring's engaging prose and provocative arguments should interest scholars, policymakers, and anyone interested in the causes and consequences of the nation's longest crime drop on record. A masterful contribution."-Richard Rosenfeld, University of Missouri-St. Louis