I don’t think that Obama should get credit for this per se, but it’s amazing that homicides went down 10% during a brutal recession (crime tends to rise when the economy is bad). I can’t find the urban versus rural breakdown, but it’s down by 30% in LA, 12% in Chicago, 20% in New York, 25% in DC, 14% in Atlanta, and 11% in Philadelphia, while the only big cities where is it up are Detroit, Baltimore and New Orleans (note: this data is for the full year, I believe, while the some of the data in the first article I linked to is for the first six months of 2009 versus the first six months of 2008), so it seems likely that murders have gone down in urban areas more than elsewhere. It would be interesting to find any other patterns as well, without getting too David Brooksy Red State/Blue State muder-at-the-Applebee’s salad bar as well?
Do people think this sharp drop (it really is sharp) is related to having a new president or related to having our first president of color or anything like that?
I have a feeling this is something that will be debated a lot, especially if rates continue to fall.
Update. More generally, the decrease in violent crime since the early 90s is remarkable (although rarely remarked on). But the only comparable dip in terms of rate I can find is from 1995 to 1999 when the economy was going gangbusters.
Update update. Alex S makes a good point:
By the way, with the decline of crime rates during the 90’s, crime lost its importance as a campaign theme. The old law-and-order republicans of the northeast lost their raison d’etre – until terrorism came along.