Ius et Praxis
versão On-line ISSN 0718-0012
LEVITT, Steven D.. Entendiendo por qué se Redujo la Criminalidad en la Década de 1990: Cuatro Factores que lo Explican y Seis que No. Ius et Praxis [online]. 2004, vol.10, n.2, pp. 97-135. ISSN 0718-0012. doi: 10.4067/S0718-00122004000200004.
In this paper, I attempt to sort out why crime in the United States declined in the 1990s. I begin with a review of the facts. I then analyze the leading explanations for why crime fell, looking at possible determinants that changed in some substantial way in the 1990s. Most of the supposed explanations actually played little direct role in the crime decline, including the strong economy of the 1990s, changing demographics, better policing strategies, gun control laws, concealed weapons laws and increased use of the death penalty. Four factors, however, can account for virtually all of the observed decline in crime: increases in the number of police, the rising prison population, the waning crack epidemic and the legalization of abortion. Thus, I conclude that the decline in crime does not really pose a puzzle, but rather, is readily explained by the available theories. The real puzzle that stands unanswered, I argue, is why crime rates did not start falling earlier. In the final section, I offer some tentative observations about what crime trends might be expected in the next decade.
Palavras-chave : Crime; United States; Economy; Changing demographics; Police; Guns; Death penalty; Prisons; Crack; Abortion.