skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 156334 Find in a Library
Title: What To Do About Crime
Journal: Commentary  Volume:98  Issue:3  Dated:(September 1994)  Pages:25-34
Author(s): J Q Wilson
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 10
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Following an analysis of crime rates in the United States over the last few decades and related factors, this article examines policies in policing, corrections, and the social structure that can reduce the crime rate.
Abstract: The major crime concern in the United States is random, deadly violence committed disproportionately by a large, alienated, and self-destructive underclass. Such crime committed by such persons can be partially addressed by problem-oriented policing that analyzes identifiable crime patterns and develops a proactive strategy that can be implemented by police. The goal of such policing would be to reduce, in a manner consistent with fundamental liberties, the opportunity for high-risk persons to do those things that increase the likelihood of their victimizing others. This policing would include both antigun and antidrug police patrols, along with the enforcing of truancy and curfew laws. In the area of corrections, the swift and certain use of prison can both deter crime and incapacitate criminals, but this will require vast increases in correctional costs and a lessening of judicial resistance to mandatory sentencing laws. The key issue is whether prompt and more effective early intervention can stop high-rate delinquents from becoming high-rate criminals at a time when their offenses are not yet serious. Perhaps early and swift, although not necessarily severe, sanctions could deter some high-risk juveniles. In the area of social structure, there must be an effort to reduce the number of young, single parents raising their children alone. One alternative is to tell a girl who applies for welfare that she can only receive it on condition that she live either in the home of two competent parents or in a group home where competent supervision and parent training will be provided by adults unrelated to her. Such homes would be privately managed but publicly funded by pooling welfare checks, food stamps, and housing allowances. Some obstacles to needed policy changes are discussed, and future projections of the crime scene in America are made. 10 notes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Corrections effectiveness; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Police crime-prevention; Problem-Oriented Policing
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.