The US is a safer place to be now than it was decades ago. There are several reasons for this, and the drop in violent crimes is more significant than the increase in crimes such as burglary. Several measures are being tried in various states, some of them very successfully, and others are being tried across the whole country.
Stricter Alcohol Control
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, alcohol is a factor in 40% of violent crimes in the US, and this is one of the reasons it is illegal to be in possession of a gun when you are drunk in most states. Heavy alcohol consumption alters perception and emotions that would normally be held in check overflow.
Higher taxes on alcohol have been suggested and reducing the number of outlets where it is available is another idea. In South Dakota, if a court deems an offense was caused by excessive consumption of alcohol, they can remove the persons right to drink it. This works by testing their blood twice and day, and each time they fail the test they have to spend a few days in jail.
Improved Street Lighting
There have been several trials nationwide to see if improved street lighting reduced crime, but probably one of the largest took place in New York City. Various departments, including the New York City Police, joined forces to design a trial that involved 80 different housing developments. Half were given improved street lighting and the other half were not.
The study found that the areas that had the improved lighting had a significant drop in their crime rates, surprisingly in the daytime as much as in the dark hours of the night. The reduction in different types of crimes varied, but with a 39% drop in index crimes, which include murder, assault, and robbery, the difference was very noticeable.
It also seems that the type of lighting made a difference. In areas where quality custom street lighting designs were used, the drop in crime was the largest. How affluent an area is had no effect on the results according to the researchers.
There are many definitions as to what this actually means, but the most successful community policing seems to be when the police hone in on specific issues within a community. If there are problems with gangs or drug dealers, for instance, the police can target them to help keep the local residents safe.
This strategy forms partnerships between police departments and community groups and lets them work together to show criminals a better life than one of crime. They will also help with education programs and job hunting, and these can help the criminals lead a more fulfilling life, without the risk of ending up in prison.
This refers to the areas where there is a lot of blighted housing. In Philadelphia, researchers found that if abandoned buildings were repaired there was a significant drop in overall crime, including gun assaults and nuisance crimes. There was no evidence to show that the crime was moved to other areas, but there was an increase in property crime around the remodeled buildings. Overall though, the total number of crimes was reduced, especially ones of a violent nature.
Crime is a problem across the whole world and there are various things being tried to reduce it. Some times it seems to be the simplest of things that are the most effective, but one of the main things all experts agree would reduce it the most is reducing the number of people living in poverty.