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Crime Down, Experts Still Searching

Alicia Caldwell reports for AP:

"Reports of violent and property crimes continued to decline in the first half of 2010, according to preliminary crime report released by the FBI Monday."

Earlier reports of falling crime despite bad economic times had produced puzzlement from experts.  Today's AP story says,

"Some experts have been hard-pressed to explain the decreasing crime when a weak economy has put a continuing strain on local police budgets.

"David Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said it's a common misconception to believe the economy alone influences crime rates.

"'Any impact the economy has on crime ... is really insignificant compared to much more powerful influences, especially drug epidemics,' Kennedy said."

That's somewhat better.  Drug epidemics do indeed have an influence.  Still, the effect of simply locking up large numbers of evil people remains curiously and conspicuously absent from quoted experts' pronouncements on the reasons for crime decline.

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