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In a recently-conducted survey, the following 10 metropolitan cities had low to very low crime rates: Scottsdale (AZ), Plano (TX), Virginia Beach (VA), Fremont (CA), Honolulu (HI), San Jose (CA), Anaheim (CA), Fort Wayne (in), Santa Ana (CA), and Garland (TX). It seems that most cities with scores of 6 and lower (out of 10 on the crime rate scale) were located mostly in the south and the west, with the exception of Fort Wayne. (Area Vibes, 2012)
It is interesting to see, then, if weather contributes to these low crime rates. Some experts would agree that weather, indeed, has a lot to do with the low crime rates in these cities. However, most would venture to state that the low crime rate is attributed to the fact that in most of these cities, the average median income is over $60,000. Yet another facet to point out would be that because of the fact that most individuals in these cities either have a job or make enough money to support them, they are not likely to commit crime. The logical trend does agree with the facts that these cities point out, namely that the lower the income gap a metropolis boasts, the lower the crime. (Bushway & Reuter, 2012)
Increased police presence is the most important aspect of creating a low-crime community, as the police are the active defenders of the public. Time and time again statistics have shown that increasing the number of feet on ground in crime-ridden communities is the best tool to prevent crime. Unfortunately this method is very costly, but many police precincts believe that their police work is the only thing that keeps criminals from do-gooders. The police have special knowledge in crime and criminals, and are best capable of handling these criminals when they are on the loose. Police also have access to advanced databases that can match criminals to crimes better than ever, and this technology has even moved into squad cars, giving officers a better chance than ever before to collect good intelligence and to keep the central police database stocked with photographs and tidbits about criminals that have been caught or who are still on the run. (Drehle, 2010)
The tools of this trade have expanded in recent years, with video surveillance and wireless networking making the protection of neighborhoods much easier. CCTV cameras are now cheaper and with a much higher resolution than the cameras of the past, and so many more cameras can be situated at many different angles providing more coverage than ever before. Even if these cameras are not actively monitored, they still provide a record of events that may tell the police at a later time what happened, and may contribute to a timely arrest being made. (La Puente, 2012)
Streetlights make a big difference to the criminal mind when they are deciding which community to enter to commit a crime. Streetlights suggest affluence, which could draw some criminals, but in the same respect they make it more difficult for criminals to operate safely. Also, the specialization of police departments that has occurred over the past twenty years has helped reduce crime. The creation of SWAT units, for example, provides an instant anti-criminal defense force anywhere in the country, instead of relying on military national guard teams that may take longer to mobilize. (McGreal, 2011)
In conclusion, we see that crime rose and fell based on the rise in access and acceptance of drugs, as well as a lack of good infrastructure to keep our cities safe, but that intelligent city officials and anti-crime measures can create harmonious answers to the problem of crime. De-urbanization led to an environment where cities could not afford to maintain their police numbers, and therefore crime naturally rose as the streets became less safe. The combined efforts of urban developers and planners, along with increased technology such as video cameras and DNA testing have combined to keep crime at its lowest in over fifty years. Only time will tell if this current wave of low-crime in the nation will last, but it would seem as if police have become far more savvy at catching criminals, and that the pendulum of public justice is in favor of the public, to the chagrin of would-be criminals everywhere.
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Drehle, David Von. "What's Behind America's Falling Crime Rate." Time. Time, 22 Feb. 2010. Web. 27 Apr. 2012.
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McGreal, Chris. "America's Serious Crime Rate Is Plunging, but Why?" The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 21 Aug. 2011. Web. 27 Apr. 2012.
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