Another year, another drop in violent crime. This week Attorney General Kamala Harris announced the state’s homicide rate for 2010 was at the lowest in 45 years. It’s really a remarkable drop and one that’s being seen across the country and for nearly all violent crimes.
In 2010, there were 1,335 homicides in 89 jurisdictions. In 2009 that number was 1,476, a drop of 9.6%. Violent crimes in general fell about 6.4%.
The 89 jurisdictions reporting account for about 65% of the crimes committed in the state on an annual basis.
While A.G. Harris states that the falling numbers reflect “the tireless efforts of our peace officers,” experts across the country have been looking for a reasonable explanation for the dropping crime rates. Several suggested reasons have been made including the overwhelming use of computers and video games that may be keeping the criminally minded occupied.
Others believe that huge incarceration rates may play a role since we’ve been collectively locking up even non-violent drug offenders. If they aren’t free to live their lives in the community, they aren’t free to commit crime. There have even been suggestions that the increased incidents of abortions a few decades ago significantly impacted the pool of potential criminals.
While there’s no certain answer available, we should be happy that the numbers continue to fall. It would be hard to ascertain that the crime rate was actually falling by watching a typical night’s news or even television dramas and reality shows, as our fascination with crime seems to have grown as the rates of actual crime falls.
While effective law enforcement could potentially have something to do with the falling crime rate, the police will no doubt be happy to take credit for it. This means you can expect more of the same from them as they attempt to encourage further declines in the overall crime rate.