Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crime Trends

Academics and most other criminal justice researchers too often forget about the internal criminal world dynamics driving crime, as their knowledge of it is limited by the often un-authentic access they have to that world, and as such; the reports emanating from their research also often miss the obvious.

In this new book from the National Academies for instance, there is some mystification around rising violent crime rates in particular cities, which most folks more familiar with the field from an experiential perspective, know emanate from the deepening acculturation of the carceral world upon the criminal world as well as from the changes that might have been made in specific policing or correctional technologies in those locales.

They would answer the three questions thus: Quite a bit, noted above, and yes.

An excerpt.

“Changes over time in the levels and patterns of crime have significant consequences that affect not only the criminal justice system but also other critical policy sectors. Yet compared with such areas as health status, housing, and employment, the nation lacks timely information and comprehensive research on crime trends. Consider a recent example. After declining or remaining stable for over a decade, violent crime rates rose in many American cities in 2005 and 2006. What is known about these changes? What brought them about? Could they be anticipated? The honest answers are: very little, no one knows, and no.” (p. 1)