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Explaining the American and Canadian Crime "Drop" in the 1990's

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology Volume: 44 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2002 Pages: 33-50
Marc Ouimet
Date Published
18 pages
This study examined longterm crime trends in Canada and the United States, with emphasis on the crime rate declines during 1993-99 and factors that might explain the recent trends.
The analysis focused on homicide, robbery, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. Data came from Statistics Canada’s CANSIM data sets and the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics website. Results revealed that Canada and the United States experienced their first prolonged period of decline in crime rates following decades of continuously increasing crime rates. Factors invoked to explain the reversal in the United States included increases in the number of police officers, more active policing, and an increased use of incarceration. However, Canada experienced similar crime trends with little or no change in policing practices or incarceration trends. Further analysis suggested that the causes of the decline in crime rates in the two countries lay in demographic shifts, improved employment opportunities, and changes in collective values. Tables, notes, and 33 references