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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76660 Find in a Library
Title: Plague of Violent Crime
Journal: Newsweek  Dated:(March 23, 1981)  Pages:46-50,52-54
Author(s): J B Copeland; J Contreras; D Camper; S Agrest; E Newhall; S Monroe; J Young; T Maitland
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 8
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The extent, causes, and strategies for reducing violent crime are discussed.
Abstract: According to the Uniform Crime Reports, the rates of reported crime edged forward; in 1979 after remaining for several years at a high plateau; however, in 1980, they exploded: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and Dallas all showed record levels of murder, robbery, and burglary. Another measure of crime (some experts believe a better one) is the Census Bureau's semiannual survey of crime victims. Between 1973 and 1979, the sampling of victims showed no signs of a surge. This is not reassuring, however, since the survey showed that almost one in three households was victimized by some type of crime. Whatever the statistics show, polls indicate that the public perceives violent crime to be a serious problem, so that the fear of random criminal violence affects behavior patterns. While advocates of various strategies for reducing violent crime are confident their approaches will have an impact, empirical evidence indicates solutions are elusive. The police, already up against long odds, can't seem to increase clearance rates; the courts are continually denounced while they attempt to dispense justice under trying conditions. The prisons are filled beyond capacity, but the clamor for tougher sentences continues, and the crime rate has not diminished. The causes of crime are believed to be many: general alienation in neighborhoods and communities, high percentages of the population in the crime-prone age group, and unemployment. The informal social controls of family, community, school, and social groups need to be strengthened if deviant behavior is to be significantly reduced. If these efforts fail, the criminal justice system apparently can do little to change the eruption of crime and deviance. Tables, a map, and photographs are supplied.
Index Term(s): Community involvement; Community support; Crime prevention measures; Deterrence; Police effectiveness; Socialization; Socioeconomic causes of delinquency; Victimization surveys; Violence; Violent crime statistics; Violent crimes
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