The other day, I said that it was funny that discussions of crime statistics always start in the ’60s. Then, about a day later, this chart started making the rounds. (More data, which is slightly – though not hugely – more favorable to my contention, is available if you follow all the links).
These figures are being waved triumphantly by progressives of all stripes. Don’t be fooled, the figures are still a terrible condemnation of progressivism in general.
By these best estimates, murders rates are about the same as they were in 1900, not as low as they were in the ’50s and have experienced a couple big bounces during that time period.
Let’s think about the world of 1900. In 1900 there were no phones, fingerprinting was not yet in use and DNA was unknown. In short, forensics as we know it did not exist.
If you add up all the major technological advances since the 1900s you get . . . wait for it . . . nothing – no measurable decline in the murder rate of any kind.
Congratulations, progressivism, your crazy ideas coupled with massive technological increases have managed to hold the line steady over the last hundred years. This is truly progress!
Update: Lots of good stuff in the comments, including the observation that advances in medical technology are the only reason the homicide rate isn’t a lot higher. The broader crime figures from the study that Sconzey and Tenkev linked to are enough for me to rest my case.
Update 2: Frost has some very similar thoughts.