12 February 2012

More on Preventing Crime

Cumulatively, however, two things happen. First, more and more of the “dirty 7 percent” of offenders who commit about 50 percent of all crime end up in prison. They cannot commit crimes, except against other criminals. Second, the cumulative impact of much higher imprisonment rates does make an impression—the idea that crime doesn’t pay is no longer completely a joke. For violent crime, the tipping point occurred in 1992, when imprisonment rates were heading straight up. By the time that the imprisonment rate for violent crime reached its 1960 level in 1998, the downward trendline was well established.

Since violent crimes are, by definition, property crimes, it would seem that having the government focus on incarcerating violent offenders would do a pretty efficient job of minimizing crime.  Couple this with the increasing tendency to make things crime-proof (see here), and there’s a pretty compelling utilitarian case for the government to avoid active prevention of crimes.


  1. I would be a very happy camper if they took all those officers and SWAT teams and other resources that are currently committed to the "War on Drugs" and put them ALL on property crime. I could care less what consenting adults do in private, but I'm sick and tired of having my stuff vandalized and stolen. The perps are rarely caught; if they are, they always walk.

  2. @Southern Man- alternatively, you could plant drugs on the kids. That'd get 'em locked up for sure.

    Seriously, though, I'm in agreement with you on that. I don't see the point in prosecuting victimless crimes (and no, "society" doesn't count), and I'd much prefer the police to investigate property crime and arrest the perps that commit them.