Crime in the United States took a sharp uptick starting in the middle of the 20th century but has actually leveled off since then, at least for the most part. However, even with the moderation in crime, especially in larger cities that have traditionally been problematic, crime in some cities is still alarmingly high and there are some cultural and social trends that are becoming more and more prevalent and, by extension, more commonly talked about as well. This essay will explore a couple of the more notorious examples of this in motion.
One study conducted for this research noted that predicting the crime rate at any given point in time can be exceedingly maddening to predict because of how a single happenstance or course of events can have a massive effect on the overall rates. The study uses the 1993 bombing attack on the World Trade Center as an example. If the towers had toppled over, as was the intention of the bombers, then the deaths could have easily been in the tens of thousands given the amount of people in the towers themselves as well as in the streets and buildings surrounding the towers (Donohue, 1998).
As the researcher assesses the same viewpoint when looking at the 9/11 attacks, which happened three years after the publication of the study mentioned in the last paragraph, the death count could have been immeasurably higher than the three to four thousand that it was. Since the towers did not immediately fall and since the plans struck the towers fairly high above the ground and above most structures, much of the death count was probably in the immediate blast radius, above that point in each tower (due to inability to escape) and with the first responders that were in the towers when they did fall.
Coming back to the source, the study notes that looking at long-term trends is much more informative and useful than looking at shortened windows of time since outliers and exceptions can skew data if the focus is too narrow. The study also notes that looking at a staple crime, like murder, and its rate over time is often linkable to other crimes as they tend to rise and fall together rather than move separately or differently. To that end, most violent crime rates have fallen or at least tapered off over the last few decades (Donohue, 1998).
However, there are certain trends and patterns that are disturbing. One example is people moving into (or out of) neighborhoods for reasons such as race or cultural differences. An example of this is the often maligned (yet disputed) instance of "white flight," whereby white people and families consciously leave a neighborhood due to black (or other minority) families moving into the area. Many note that this cuts both ways but many scholars say it is less than constructive or positive to make living and lifestyle decisions based on something like race (Massey, Condran & Denton, 1987).
Even with the age of the article, the author of this paper selected it because of an example given in the open passages. A black family was moving into an area in Philadelphia in 1985 and roughly four hundred white men and women were standing about shouting racial epithets and other derogatory terms. What is flooring about this anecdote is that this even would be roughly a generation removed from the civil rights progress of the 1960's and this was not happening in the South. Even with this shocking event, it is noted that there were many other areas of the town where blacks and whites lived amongst each other and in the same neighborhoods with little to no problem (Massey, Condran & Denton, 1987).
As far as how this all correlates to crime, there was a clear link stated in this article between how people prefer/do live together and the economic standing of these same groups and that this had a demonstrable effect on the prevailing crime rates for these areas. It is also noted that this perhaps fed the beast as it related to negative perceptions about black people moving into an area because some people (very unfairly) presumed that it would lead to the neighborhood beginning to degenerate into crime and squalor (Massey, Condran & Denton, 1987).
Even so, it is clear that many minority families are behind the proverbial eight ball when it comes to education, crime and other cultural/social issues. Income levels and educational levels (and those two things often go hand in hand) are often much poorer for blacks and Latinos (among a few other groups) and this often leads to crime rates being generally higher for those groups as well. Many counter those statistics by noting that blacks and Latinos are significantly disadvantaged as it compares to their white counterparts and that this is the true cause and root of what is going on when it comes to crime rates being disproportionate. Others point to unequal enforcement with blacks getting targeted by police much more often and that even if the subsequent arrests are legitimate and righteous, similar things would happen if white neighborhoods were policed as heavily and as commonly (Massey, Condran & Denton, 1987).
Even with the article from the last few paragraphs being as old as it is, that subject has not change its tune over the years since. Something that has changed in tenor and tone is the incidence of violent crime and higher crime rates overall with women. Traditionally, men have been more prone to commit crimes but women have given men a run for their money in the recent years, and violent crime is no exception. Some people blame the violence in TV shows and video games while others blame lack of prayer in schools. Some even go so far as to blame feminism and state that feminism "spoils" girls and makes them more prone to delinquency and crime (Carrington, 2006).
Another disturbing trend is that Muslim people and groups, or even groups that bear any resemblance (e.g. Sikhs, Indians, etc.) are the targets of hate-induced attacks due to an alleged or supposed resemblance to the 9/11 hijackers or their supporters. Examples of this include random attacks on Muslims or people mistaken for Muslims. Not all that long ago, an armed gunman shot up a Sikh temple, even though Sikhs are not Muslim and are peace-loving (Disha, Cavendish, & King, 2011).
One refrain that grows louder by the day is the link between poverty and crime. Rather than entirely blame a person for committing a crime, many scholars and regular Americans are now assessing whether there is a link between poverty and crime and whether the deck is truly stacked against people that become desperate enough to commit crimes as a product or result of their destitution and struggle. Others reject this out of hand and say that while there is a strong correlation (if not a causality) between poverty and crime, that is not an excuse or justification that should be taken seriously and that the people involved in the situation have the means to remove themselves if they so choose. At the very least, it is suggested to attack the root cause of the poverty and the lack of opportunities rather than coddle or justify what the criminals are doing and why (Burdett, Lagos & Wright, 2003).
In conclusion, the trends are generally good based on the research but there are definitely some outliers and there is a huge amount of inequality out there and this is a lot of what is leading to the crime trends of today. There is much disagreement as to whether motive should serve as a sound justification for what is going…