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I’m Sick Of Saying This

The crime rate in the United States is directly proportional to the number of males in the 15 to 45 year old age group. Crimes increase when that number goes up and decrease when that number goes down. If you want to plan for future increases or decrease in activity in the criminal justice system that is the gold standard of indicators.

The “Baby Boom” started in 1946. In 1992 the “Boomers” started turning 46 and passing out of that group. What do you think happened to the crime rate?

Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog looks at Giuliani’s claims about cleaning up New York and links to the Wikipedia entry on Crime in the United States. The numbers and graphics show as the “Boomers” age the crime rate goes down.

Nothing anyone does has as much effect on the crime rate as the simple demographics. Guess what, the children of the “Boomers” are another bubble, so they will have the same effect. All of these “get tough on crime” laws and sentencing guidelines increase the number of people in prison, but they don’t have much real effect on the crime rate.


1 Badtux { 11.15.07 at 5:14 pm }

Well, Giuliani did clean up New York in other ways. Some say he Disneyfied New York, but the fact remains that areas of the city that have been notorious for porn, prostitution, and other “vice” of that nature since before the Baby Boomers were conceived are now primo tourist areas, and it happened on Giuliani’s watch. Whether that’s good or bad depends on your own personal tastes.

— Badtux the Disneyfied Penguin

2 Bryan { 11.15.07 at 5:35 pm }

All it required was ignoring individual rights and cooking up deals with men in “business,” to take over the properties.

The crime rate was already on its way down because of demographics and the fiscal responsibility of the Clinton administration gave people the courage to invest once something was being done about the deficit.

Giuliani had nothing to do with either event, he was just there.

3 Steve Bates { 11.15.07 at 9:18 pm }

Krugman, in his new book, asserts more or less the same thing (though not specifically about New York), that crime rates are strongly correlated with changes in population demographics, though he includes race in the mix, as blacks move from the rural South to the urban North where they often do not find jobs. Page 88:

Perhaps the most plausible explanation for the great crime wave [the threefold increase between 1957 and 1970 – SB] rests on demography. After World War II millions of blacks left the rural South for Northern cities – and along with their white fellow citizens, they also had a lot of children. As the baby boom reached adolescence, there was a large increase in the number of young males, and young urban black males in particular. It’s true that the actual increase in crime was much larger than the increase in the number of people in crime-prone demographic groups, but there may have been a “multiplier effect” because the demographic changes overwhelmed the forces of social control. The proliferation of crime-prone young males created new, dangerous norms for behavior. And the increase in the number of people likely to commit crimes wasn’t matched by any corresponding increase in the number of police officers to arrest them or jail cells to hold them. During the sixties the number of people in prison remained essentially flat even as crime soared – a sharp contrast with what happened in the nineties, when the number of people in prison continued to rise even as crime plunged.

Bryan, you may want to email him your snail-mail address so he’ll know where to send your check…

4 Bryan { 11.15.07 at 10:52 pm }

The increase in blacks from the South really took off during WWII and continued afterward as industries switched to domestic production, but the studies I read in the law enforcement journals in the 1970s all came to the same conclusions – it wasn’t race, although it appeared to be in some urban settings as blacks, even then, were more apt to be jailed, but age.

5 Steve Bates { 11.16.07 at 1:31 am }

Not defending Krugman’s assertions, but he frames many of America’s sociopolitical problems in terms of racial hatred and discrimination. He makes a pretty good case that white people’s fear and loathing of people of color has been responsible for many other unpleasant phenomena in our recent history, most especially the rise of the hostile, lying, incompetent wing of the Republican Party. The book is worth reading in its own right, whatever you think of his thesis.

6 wild-eyed sockpuppet { 11.16.07 at 2:02 am }

i’m not buying krugman’s race thesis, not entirely anyway. i might get around to debating it later, but i want to finish the assault on reason first so i can get it back to the library before it’s overdue.

7 Bryan { 11.16.07 at 10:08 am }

I’m not saying that race wasn’t a factor in a lot of things, but it was a contributing factor to a lot of misunderstanding in the underlying patterns. Crime was, and probably still is, underreported in minority communities. There is friction between people from urban areas, suburban areas, and rural areas that isn’t dependent on race, but can be seen that way because it was more obvious when dealing with rural blacks and urban whites. You have to investigate a few bar fights to figure it out – the “rules” for behavior are different, and there is friction when they aren’t followed.

Racial differences make groups easier to follow, but that needs to be assessed within a common grouping, like economic status to determine the weight it has, i.e poor, rural blacks are different in too many ways for a direct reading of causal relationship when looking at their condition in a middle-class, urban environment.

The racial factor has to be isolated so that you can say that poor, rural blacks are at a disadvantage in a poor, rural environment when compared to poor, rural whites. In a middle-class, urban environment poor, rural people were discriminated against without regard to race, although race may have been a factor in assuming someone was poor and rural.