Both UCR and NCVS note that the rates of violent victimization have been on a downward trend in the past two decades. Specifically, from 1993 to 2010 there was a 70% decline in violent crime victimization (Truman, 2011). A similar trend was observed in the serious violent crime victimization rate, which declined by 73% to reach 5.4 per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2010 from 20.5 in 1993 (Truman, 2011). Another decline was witnessed in property crime victimization rates, which dropped from 318.9 per 1,000 households in 1993 to 120.2 per, 1000 households in 2010 (Truman, 2011).
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Although both UCR and NCVS concur that the rate of violent and property crimes declined, they differ on the aspect of the number of all the crimes reported. While UCR noted a decline in the 2009-2010 periods, NCVS did not see a statistical significance in this decline (Truman, 2011). The variations arise from how the two institutions define crimes, their bases of calculating the crime rates, and methodology used in data collection and analysis (Department of Justice, 2004).
Historical precedent and explanation for the crime drop
There was an increase in incarceration between 1970 and 2000 (Ouimet, 2004). This saw the number of inmates in jails and prisons increase by over 500% (Ouimet, 2004). This might have caused a drop in crime rates. Other factors to this effect were economic growth that led to more jobs, a decline in drug trafficking, the institution of community policing, and community participation in drug eradication (Ouimet, 2004).
Social ecology: This theory focuses on community deterioration, disorder, and poverty as sources of crime. With economic growth, there was a reduction in poverty and more community involvement thus reducing crime rates.
Social bond theory: This theory focuses on ideas of why people do not indulge in crime. The concept of attachment to others as utilized in this theory may help explain how potential criminals got attached to the community and worked towards achieving community goals, thus deviating from crimes such as armed robbery.
Rational choice theory: Risks of committing a crime such as long-term jail sentences would outweigh the benefits the offender may be thinking of. Thus, incarceration and restrictive jail terms acted as deterrent factors for committing a crime.
The rational choice theory provides the most powerful explanation for the crime drop. This is because as noted earlier, the crime rate dropped more significantly when many people were jailed and there were restrictive jail terms. Therefore, potential criminals have to weigh their costs and benefits carefully.
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Roszak, T. (2000). A Just War Analysis of Two of Deterrence. Ethics, 73 (2)100-109. Web.
Sampson, R., & Lauritsen, J. L. (2011). Violent Victimization and Offending: Individual-, Situational-, and Community-Level Risk Factors. Web.
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Timmer, D. A., & Norman, W. (2011). The Ideology of Victim Precipitation. Web.
Truman, J. L, (2011). Criminal Victimization, 2010. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Web.
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