The Crime Drop and Low Crime Rates
Module 1. WMU
Module #1 Assignment/ The Crime Drop and Low Crime Rates
The empirical evidence tells us a lot about what is happening with crime each year by showing an approximate percentage of the crimes committed. The empirical evidence changes every year that surveys are entered by police or other poles. These statistics are not whole heartedly true because a lot of crimes do not get reported. There are different diagrams you can look at depending what types of crimes you are looking for and by locations. For example, in the second chart, given to us in our first module, it shows us that crime in America has decreased though this is only information that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has collected from precincts. The crime drop in the 1990’s can be blamed on few factors like under reporting of crimes actually committed along with other reasons.
For many reasons I believe that people have really stopped reporting crimes. One main reason I believe people have stopped reporting crime is solely on fear and discretion. Though it doesn’t cross the mind of many, people of color, mainly immigrants don’t tend to call the police when a situation gets out of control. What I have noticed growing up in a family of immigrants calling the police was not done unless someone’s life was in imminent danger. There could have been fights, threats, theft among other “minimal” incidents and the police would have never been contacted. In my family the police weren’t involved simply out of fear and “what would other people say if they found out.” I’ve seen many families and individuals who worry way too much about other folks’ opinions and even when they are going through the worst situations they don’t ask for help. Anyway, this fear that came from immigrants on being deported kept them from reporting crimes, like those who fear the police for their dark complexion. Racism though seen more now on social media than back then was still very much happening and of course the colored folks blamed or not taken as serious. Anyway, another reason the crime rate dropped in the 1990s could’ve have also been an affect from all the arrest that were happening in the 1980s. If the officers were arresting those committing the crimes and if they were being convicted, then obviously less crimes would have been committed later, is that fully accurate, perhaps not. Also, I think people are more hesitant to report a crime if they know who did it and did not want to get them in trouble. For example, I grew up in a small town where everyone literally knows everyone and their spawn. If I, for example, were to steal or damage something instead of calling the police the town people would much rather get a hold of my mother and take up the problem with her. On one occasion one of my many siblings threw toilet paper all over someone’s house and instead of reporting him they simply got a hold of my mother and made my brother along with his friends clean up the mess and apologize. Another reason that I found that people do not report crimes is because they think that what happened to them or what they witnessed isn’t important. It goes unsaid how many women get assaulted and are being harassed on the daily basis and yet women don’t really report it, because it just seems “normal” and if it does get reported the person that was harassing her simply gets a slap on the hand.
According to Steven D. Levitt, crime decreased in the 1990s because of a few factors like “a strong economy (p. 170),” and “better policing (p. 17)” to name a few. From what I read and understood these are simply suggestions. If the economy was doing better than more people were working and theft was less common. Steven D. Levitt then mentioned that way police officers interacted with the people also helped and the officers were tackling and focusing on gang groups thus minimalizing crimes. I believe that the way the officers communicate and treat the public has a lot to do with how people react as well. If an officer starts pushing you around or starts the arrest all heated up the suspect or person speaking to them is more likely to get defensive and depending on the situation then they are most likely to be given more charges.
Currently in America people believe crime has increased to the point of no return, however that is not certainly true. Today in America we have powerful sources that keeps us all connected day and night and at every second, the media and internet. I believe that we see and are more aware of all the events that cover this earth more than any of our ancestors ever will. Like said in our module narrative, we know exactly what is going on in every state and country in the matter of seconds and because we are exposed to so much crime, we believe it is more common than what it actually is. I am not necessarily aware of all the news outlets that they had back in 1970s or 1990s, but it seems like the news then was more focused on it nearby locations and now there are way too many different news outlets reporting many different things from all over the world that you truly become overwhelmed. I do not believe that we should not be aware of what is happening around the world, but maybe there should be more channels to keep us focused on what is happening around us. Anyhow, in todays America I believe people feel more comfortable calling the police than before. What I have noticed a lot, especially on social media, is what people are referring to as “Karens and Kens,” which are people who call the police on people whom they feel “threatened” by who are really just people that stand out. I have seen and noticed the changes as I have moved around that some towns people will call the police over the smallest things. About March of this year, I personally witnessed a woman calling the police on someone who parked to close to her care but was still within the yellow lines. I, myself, have been exposed to more crime within this past year after becoming a property manager and though I know that not all apartment complexes are the same it does make me view them differently. Last year there was a big meth bust in one of my properties that involved undercover officers and a raid. I had studied criminal justice in high school and though I was shocked I didn’t think much into it, however, one of my tenants who has been living there for over eight years surely was very worried. This woman, my tenant, began saying how their town was no longer safe and how crime had increased in such a short time and how officers should be patrolling more. That was her response over the fear and shock she went through that night, and I believe more Americans think of it in such way. If one vehicle gets stolen, then surely many more are too. Also, now that women are finding it more comfortable to speak out against those who have harmed them and harass them we see more of those types of crimes, like rape. With a movement that went viral last year many women realized that it wasn’t just them going through something painful and that women experience more harm on the daily basis than we could possibly know. When a women or man become victims of any type of abuse they tend to blame and shame themselves, but now they are more comfortable speaking out and reporting the abuse. Of course, this also depends on their culture and location and the relation they had with their abuser.
Overall, I believe crime can not be measured not fully anyway. Yes, we have our statistics, and we can rely on them for a more precise idea, however, it won’t be fully accurate. People over recording or not recording enough, or officers not making many arrests or too little arrest truly makes a difference in what we are given to analyze. The internet for good or for worse will either make us more secure or install more fear in us. I, personally, like to think of the world in a more positive aspect though I know that does not mean it is all roses and sunsets, but the way the media focuses on crime is very concerning and can really make you think twice on a normal day. I don’t blame people for being more scared and wanting to be more protected especially when moving to a new location or seeing their populations increase and therefore, they rely on statistics to make that decision for them. We can only hope that precincts report everything truly to the Federal Bureau of Investigations and that we are receiving the most exact information.
1) https://elearning.wmich.edu/d2l/le/content/458363/viewContent/4436749/View-SOC2600 Module 1
2) Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not (uchicago.edu)
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