By Rafael Mangual
In his 2016 book, “The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America,” criminologist Barry Latzer quoted crime historian Eric Monkkonen, who suggested that crime trends would follow a cyclical pattern. Monkkonen noted that “[R]ising violence provokes a multitude of control efforts” but when “the murder rate ebbs, control efforts get relaxed, thus creating the multiple conditions causing the next upswing.”
There is no doubt that the United States, by and large, became more aggressive in its approach to rising violent crime during the 1980s and ’90s. One could argue that, in some ways, the pendulum swung into the territory of an overcorrection, which understandably fueled calls for a more measured, less punitive approach. Those calls have been largely heeded in jurisdictions across the country over the last decade.
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