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Counting Crime: an explanation of falling crime rates

By Mark Roycroft


The current crime decrease is defying traditional criminological theories such as those espoused by Bonger (1916) who researched the relationship between crime and economic conditions and stated that when unemployment rises so does crime. In both the USA and the UK crime has dropped dramatically while unemployment has risen. Both the USA and the UK have been in a deep recession since 2008 but the crime rate has decreased dramatically in both countries. Over the past 20 years it has halved in England and Wales. So how do we explain this phenomenon? Crime is down across the West but more so in Britain (see Figure 1). In England and Wales crime has decreased by 8% in a single year (2013). Vandalism is down by 14% and burglaries and vehicle crime by 11%. The murder rate in the UK is at its lowest since 1978; in 2013, 540 people were killed. Some less serious offences are vanishing too; antisocial behaviour has fallen from just under 4million incidents in 2007-08 to 2.4million. (The Economist 20/4/13). According to the most recent annual results from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), crime is at its lowest level since the survey began in 1981; the most recent annual figures from the survey, Latest figures from the CSEW show there were an estimated 7.3 million incidents of crime against households and resident adults (aged 16 and over) in England and Wales for the year ending March 2014. This represents a 14% decrease compared with the previous year’s survey, and is the lowest estimate since the survey began in 1981

Publisher: Verdant Media Limited
Year: 2015
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