Reflections on the Crime Decline

Research Report

Reflections on the Crime Decline

Lessons for the Future?
August 12, 2002


By the end of the 20th century, crime rates had fallen to their lowest levels in a generation. Yet, there is reason to believe that the dramatic declines of the late 1990s are over, and a new chapter is unfolding as crime rises in some cities, declines in others, and stabilizes in the nation as a whole. The Urban Institute convened a panel of leading crime researchers and national experts to explore the lessons to be learned from the remarkable crime decline of the 1990s and shed light on the next generation of crime policy discussions. "Reflections on the Crime Decline" presents a summary of those discussions. The report begins with an overview of long-term crime trends, examining separately the trends in violent and property crime. The final sections of the report summarize the insights and reflections of the panel on the explanations for the crime decline and implications for future research, practice and policy development.

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