Evaluating Contemporary Crime Drop(s) in America, New York City, and Many Other Places

Baumer, Eric P. and Kevin T. Wolff (2014). Evaluating Contemporary Crime Drop(s) in America, New York City, and Many Other Places. Justice Quarterly, 31(2): 5-38.

This paper describes and evaluates some fundamental facts about the contemporary crime drop, summarizes the major explanations that have been offered for it, and assesses the validity of these explanations in light of observed trends. In contrast with much of the recent literature, we argue that the locus of the crime drop in the 1990s is not wholly consistent with the available data and that while New York City experienced substantial crime decreases, its uniqueness has been exaggerated. We suggest that it is important to partition the crime drop observed in New York City and elsewhere into global and more localized shifts, and we offer some observations about the factors that appear most germane to driving these different dimensions of recent crime drops. We conclude with some suggestions for future inquiry.