The Myth of the Poverty/Crime Connection

The connection between poverty and crime has been accepted fact since the 1960s. Even I, a reformed liberal, still bought into it. But crime has dropped during the worst recession in living memory. With over 7 million jobs lost in an economy in trouble, crime is the lowest since the early 1960s. This, my friends, changes everything.

Heather MacDonald lays out the implications of this social phenomena:

As New York Police Commissioner in the mid-1990s, Mr. Bratton pioneered the intensive use of crime data to determine policing strategies and to hold precinct commanders accountable—a process known as Compstat. . . .

The Compstat mentality is the opposite of root causes excuse-making; it holds that policing can and must control crime for the sake of urban economic viability. More and more police chiefs have adopted the Compstat philosophy of crime-fighting and the information-based policing techniques that it spawned. Their success in lowering crime shows that the government can control antisocial behavior and provide public safety through enforcing the rule of law. Moreover, the state has the moral right and obligation to do so, regardless of economic conditions or income inequality


Read it all.

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Posted January 12th, 2010 Filed in Legal System