Rising Crime in the U.S.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Falling crime rates, especially in New York City, have been one of the great American stories of the past fifteen years. So why is crime now rising in so many midsize American cities? Hanna Rosin answers this question in “American Murder Mystery” (in the July/August issue of The Atlantic).


Hanna Rosin

Comments [18]

hjs from 11211

field of study called Sociology, let's us look for patterns and helps us correct problems.
if only we think we'd be better off.

Jul. 08 2008 01:24 PM
AWM from UWS


Let's not generalize in order to distinguish. Every human within a group has an individual story.

But it is true, being without direction seems like the easy way but the consequences are harsh.

Jul. 08 2008 01:09 PM
SAM from New Jersey


That's a good point. As the daughter of a West Indian and an African American, I can see striking differences between the halves of my family. The W.I.s are always boasting about who's achieving at a job, in school, or through house purchases. The African American side is one big mess. I avoid most of them. Yes, it may be because the AAs have no tradition to fall back on. I only know that it's contagious and I try to steer my nieces away from those without direction

Jul. 08 2008 12:54 PM
AWM from UWS


You're close. It's not only the history of slavery but it's the lack of a connection to a home outside of the US. Most people can trace their families to other countries & traditions. None exist for african americans.

Jul. 08 2008 12:49 PM
SAM from New Jersey

Immigrant extended families are "usually" striving for the same goals. African Americans have huge sprawling families...loosely connected and not joined together by a common goal. So it is hard to have a family where "everyone" including cousins are striving towards maximum education, or owning businesses or owning homes.
I don't know why this is. I could never figure it out.

Jul. 08 2008 12:45 PM
Fred from Brooklyn

There's a pretty strong consensus that the urban crime wave of the 70's was partially a consequence of the urban renewal programs of the 60's, that broke up communities and displaced people en masse in the cause of relieving "urban blight". So now Rosin is saying that a new wave of mass displacement of people, based on similar attempts at improvement, are having similar consequences. Maybe we should understand that forcibly displacing people in large numbers is never a good idea, no matter the intentions.

Jul. 08 2008 12:43 PM
hjs from 11211

could one say, the mid-sized cities have no economic base. they are all rust belt leftovers with too many people per jobs. NYC on the other hand has a thriving service economy.

Jul. 08 2008 12:42 PM
Liam from Manhattan

you mentioned the closing of public housing.
My wife & I grew up in the Smith Houoses here in the city. Everyone, we grew up with had to leave because the houses went co-op.
How does public housing go co-op?

Jul. 08 2008 12:38 PM
hjs from 11211

when immigrants move to the middle class they take their cousins with them. because of slavery, black americans don't have strong enough families

Jul. 08 2008 12:36 PM
SAM from New Jersey

As a black middle-class person, I am well aware of this. Many working-class and newly minted middle-class people has relatives..cousins or what have you..who are of questionable morality and who are generally unable to take advantage of the mainstream world. When you move, you have to leave these people behind matter how close you are to have to drop them, throw them out and never see them at your house again.

Cruel and haertless but it is the only way that the bad stuff will not follow you.
Many emerging middle-class people try to help other "less-fortunate" family members. This is a mistake. You can only help those who already have momentum.

Jul. 08 2008 12:32 PM
hjs from 11211

EDUCATION pre k to 12. spend more money

Jul. 08 2008 12:30 PM
World's Toughest Milkman from the_C_train

I've heard that Richmond VA has a horrific crime rate, seems like a lot of it is gang related.

I think a lot of this is related to family breakdown both morally and physically, and a general lack of personal responsibility.

Jul. 08 2008 12:28 PM
norman from nyc

Ask her whether the destruction of public housing was good or bad for crime.

Jul. 08 2008 12:26 PM
AWM from UWS

The exposure of generations of people to lead should be further explored. It causes brain disorders, decreasing cognition & increasing impulsive behavior. Add the stress of poverty and drug & alcohol abuse, and you have a greater chance of criminal behavior.

Jul. 08 2008 12:25 PM
Tami from New Jersey

I think it's disingenuous to wonder if the pple who moved to these housing developments feel cheated - they thought they were moving on to a better life and, whaddaya know, the crime followed them. Well, you just said that the people who are committing the crimes are pple who are living with the Section 8 grantees. So, (scratch head here), it's hardly a surprise that the crime is "following" them out to the smaller cities or suburbs. Am I missing something?

Jul. 08 2008 12:24 PM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Are all the people from the SAME economic scale?

I've heard that when top/mid/bottom economics get together in close proximity, things go better.

Jul. 08 2008 12:21 PM
Hugh from Crown Heights

Isn't New York's murder rate up by 8% in the first half of this year over the same time last year?

If a lot of crime is driven by economic need (or desperation, depression), might the really wealthy cities be driving out the people who are most desperate and thus driving the crime to the less expensive areas that the desperate move to?

This sounds vaguely like Mr. Lopate's guest's observations on housing.

Jul. 08 2008 12:13 PM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Well, like pornography it moves to a better location with fewer police.
If this country could stomach only one way to suffer the death penalty-quickly-few appeals-top to bottom of the garbage pile-all drug dealers and purveyors-GOOD-BYE forever!!!
Might help the crime problem.
Oh, and, real help for the addicted and mentally ill.

Jul. 08 2008 12:08 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.