comments_image Comments

Crime Rates Are Plummeting -- And No One Knows Why

Could it be that America is actually turning less violent? Or are we as violent as ever — but have simply found different ways of assuaging our urges?

Continued from previous page


What spurs crime? Greed. Hate. Opportunity. What stems it? 

"There's a growing groundswell of folks accepting their personal ownership of what goes on in their neighborhoods," Kuns says. "Regardless of their station in life, they're taking responsibility for the places in which they live and for a reasonable radius around them. They've realized that although the police are happy to rescue you when we can — that's the fun part of our job — the policing of your neighborhood starts with you." 

In some neighborhoods these days, "people literally run out of their houses and try to stop crimes themselves.

"Say every time a crime takes place, we get four or five calls from community members providing information. After a while, the bad guys think, 'The probability of someone seeing me committing a crime and making that call, and thus the probability of my getting caught, is so high that it's not worth committing the crime.'

"It's like game theory."

Anneli Rufus is the author of several books, most recently The Scavenger's Manifesto (Tarcher Press, 2009). Read more of Anneli's writings on scavenging at

See more stories tagged with: