Americans Safer Now Than They Have Been In 40 Years
American crime rate is plunging, according to an article in The Economist. Criminal incidents in the industrial countries of the world have been sliding for years, the magazine reports.
The acknowledged and respected economics authority says that crime rates have been sliding for about two decades and Americans are safer now than they have been in 40 years, the July 20-26 edition says.
Residents of the United States have less to fear from criminal activity now than they did in 1970, the magazine maintains.
The steady decline of crime in the G7 leading industrial countries, as well as other industrialized nations is attributed to a number of reasons. The Economist reports that states and countries that softened sentences and reduced prison populations have the most pronounced drop in crime.
The magazine says there is no correlation between length of prison sentences and recidivism. If that were true, crime would not be falling in New York, Germany and the Netherlands, the magazine concludes.
In England, for example, the number of first time convictions has fallen 44 percent since 2007. In 1990 there were 147,000 cars stolen in New York; last year fewer than 10,000 were stolen. And in the ‘90s, England had about 500 banks robbed per year; last year the number was 67.
It is clear there are a number of factors involved in the reduction of crime, but it is also clear that harsh sentences and mandatory minimums are counter productive, based on the facts, the magazine reports.
Some conservatives and prison boosters continue to profess that the crime rate is down because the criminals are in prison, the magazine says. However, the three-judge federal court overseeing the California prison overcrowding issue has opined that Gov. Jerry Brown’s position on prison crowding is chimerical, which means fantasy.
The three judges noted that expert criminologists they hired indicated they have known for many years that there is absolutely no connection between length of sentence and recidivism.
According to The Economist report, the $47,000 per year average cost per inmate in California would cover a person’s costs to attend Stanford University. The magazine notes the state could give each inmate a Stanford education for less than $200,000, but prefer to pay a $1 million or more to lock him or her up for life.
The three-judge court noted that FBI statistics on 21 prison-reduction programs covering release of over 1.7 million inmates, has not resulted in any increase in recidivism.