Monday, December 03, 2007

What Happens Next?

I have absolutely nothing intelligent to say (to which many of you immediately reply, “that’s never stopped you before,” so thank you for that) about the death of Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor that others haven’t said. Everything we’ve heard about it certainly corresponds with the literature on how targets get decided and how burgs can go wrong. What I am interested in, though, is the aftermath of that murder on crime rates among the thug community that has been implicated. One of my strongly held beliefs about sensational crime is that it creates the conditions for its own reduction when the costs become so conspicuously high that observers (siblings, friends, etc.) who might otherwise be drawn to that life decide on their own (not from fear of prison, longer sentences, or even getting caught) that they don’t want to be a part of it. I think we saw a lot of that in the crime rate declines of the 90s as the insanity of the crack wave became clear. I’m wondering if we’ll see it now. And if we have any enterprising crim doctoral students prepared to do the study. I hope so.

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