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Expanding the Scope of Research on Recent Crime Trends

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
St. Louis
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $35,000)

The now well-known substantial shifts in crime rates observed in the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s were largely unanticipated, and they have stimulated a deep curiosity among researchers, policy makers, the media, and the general public about precisely what happened and why it happened. This curiosity has stimulated a long and creative list of ideas about why crime rates probably took their observed path. However, there have been surprisingly few comprehensive empirical assessments and there is little consensus about the factors that mattered most. The extant research on recent crime trends has focused on a narrow subset of the many factors thought to be potentially relevant, and coupled with substantial variation across studies in model specification, units of analysis, and analytical strategies, this has impeded the accumulation of a systematic body of scientifically generated knowledge from which a more vivid portrait of recent crime trends might emerge. The proposed project would advance understanding and produce valuable data and results for policy makers and others by (1) building a more complete data infrastructure; and (2) conducting a comprehensive and systematic analysis of each of the major hypotheses emphasized in the literature across multiple geographic units (states, metropolitan areas, counties, and cities).

Date Created: September 14, 2008