The Problems That Come from Shrinking Crime

Netherlands to close prisons for lack of criminals

The Dutch justice ministry has announced it will close eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty.

During the 1990s the Netherlands faced a shortage of prison cells, but a decline in crime has since led to overcapacity in the prison system. The country now has capacity for 14,000 prisoners but only 12,000 detainees…The overcapacity is a result of the declining crime rate, which the ministry’s research department expects to continue for some time.

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Crime Shrinking

How the Plummeting Price of Cocaine Fueled the Nationwide Drop in Violent Crime

Starting in the mid-1990s, major American cities began a radical transformation. Years of high violent crime rates, thefts, robberies, and inner-city decay suddenly started to turn around. Crime rates didn’t just hold steady, they began falling faster than they went up. This trend appeared in practically every post-industrial American city, simultaneously.

Let’s Keep Digging to See What else the Media Is Ignoring

Like the U.S. homicide rate, Canada’s rate just keeps falling and falling.

The homicide rate in Canada has fallen to its lowest annual level in 44 years, thanks to significant drops in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, Statistics Canada revealed Tuesday morning as it gave detailed numbers for 2010.

The national homicide rate is now 1.62 for every 100,000 population. It has been declining since it reached a peak in the mid-1970s.

The Fascination With Crime Seems to Be Fading

The number of serial murders is dwindling, along with the public’s fascination with them. The golden age of serial killers is probably past.

Statistics on serial murder are hard to come by—the FBI doesn’t keep numbers, according to a spokeswoman—but the data we do have suggests serial murders peaked in the 1980s and have been declining ever since. James Alan Fox, a criminology professor at Northeastern University and co-author of Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder, keeps a database of confirmed serial murderers starting in 1900. According to his count, based on newspaper clippings, books, and Web sources, there were only a dozen or so serial killers before 1960 in the United States. Then serial killings took off: There were 19 in the 1960s, 119 in the ’70s, and 200 in the ’80s. In the ’90s, the number of cases dropped to 141. And the 2000s saw only 61 serial murderers.