The Reason for Lower Violent Crime Rates – Cell Phones

Well, that’s Bob Wright’s idea, anyway. While we’ve never firmly asserted causality between the increase in gun ownership and concealed carriers with the two decades-long drop in violent crime rates in the US, others famously have. But Wright — an author, thinker and bloggingheads.tv impresario — sees things a little differently. To him, it’s the likelihood of having a cellular dime dropped on them that has more potential bad actors straightening up and flying right. His interlocutor in this little palaver, Joel Achenbach of The Washington Post seems, shall we say, less than persuaded.   [h/t althouse.blogspot.com]

57 Responses to The Reason for Lower Violent Crime Rates – Cell Phones

  1. avatarjwm says:

    Cell phones allow for near instant communication and most have decent cameras built into them. The perfect combo for city wear, a cell phone and a j frame Smith.

  2. avatarDavid-p says:

    The CDC states on their website that 15 people die and 1200 are injured each day from distracted drivers, mainly from cell phones. So does this mean that cell phones should be listed as an NFA item?

    • avatarBeninMA says:

      Drunk driving kills more people than gun-related homicide each year, but liberals aren’t talking about prohibiting the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants. The reality is that liberals value social drinking more than they do the responsible use of firearms. Your cultural outlook determines where you stand on this issue, not which studies you believe.

      • avatarAccur81 says:

        Well, I value social and anti-social drinking myself. Sounds like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to me.

        • avatarCasey T says:

          Let’s have common sense alcohol control. Everyone who wants to drink must register for a consumption license that must be on them if they have a blood alcohol level over 0.01 and they may only have four drinks a week and only one per day. You may only buy the sample bottles because you don’t want high capacity containers because they are dangerous. If you have a felony or a domestic violence judgment, you may not be allowed to own or drink alcohol either. If we can save just one life, it’s worth it.

  3. avatarSammy says:

    Whoa! NOW that’s original. “Keep back, I have 911 on speed di, ugggggggggg!” (sound of body hitting the ground). Does that mean that if I have 2 cell phones I’m twice as safe?

  4. avatargeorge lortz says:

    Sure, you see a crime being committed, you hit 911 on your cellphone, and voila, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

    • avatarDavid-p says:

      Sorry George, that doesn’t count. He said that cell phones decreased crime. You can’t call after the crime has been committed.

      I know I leave my house and call the police and tell them to send help. When they ask what the problem is I say ” nothing, YET! But I am sure those people walking into the grocery store are up to no good! Oh wait, those old people are trying to get into the doctor’s office, send SWAT” lol

  5. avatarEnsitu says:

    So he’s saying that the mere presance of a smart phone stops crime?
    Then why are PPL being mugged for them?

  6. avatarKaliope says:

    We shouldn’t, in my opinion, discount this entirely. Most of us here, even those of us who carry concealed, also carry a cell phone. Why? So that if shit starts to go down, we can draw a weapon with one hand and a cell phone with the other. I could definitely see the prospect of being captured on video and/or audio being a deterrent for some criminals, just as carrying a handgun is a deterrent for some criminals. We should embrace subjects like this and say “in conjunction with our handgun.”

    I do, however, feel that carrying a gun is a much stronger deterrent. One of them can call the good guys with a gun, the other doesn’t have to wait.

    • avatarDavid-p says:

      Kaliope, I don’t discount this but he said that it decreased crime. I am all for cell phones. They are just a tool. I would rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it, just like a gun. Cell phones are great for reporting a crime and calling for help but as for it stopping crime-no. Crime rates would be much much lower if they did

  7. avatarBeninMA says:

    I seem to remember a lead paint theory of crime reduction. Or maybe it’s the profusion of electronic media keeping kids off the streets? (I just thought of that, but there must be a paper on it somewhere.)

    Robert Wright is at least honest in his anti gun sentiments. He’s said elsewhere that guns should be limited to 6 rounds, with changeable magazines prohibited.

    • avatarIn Memphis says:

      Well, lead paint in toys made in China certainly didnt CHANGE anything. I really HOPEd it would motivate, “creating more jobs” in America

      • avatarBeninMA says:

        Some Chinese toys may have lead paint, but that’s not as bad as every painted surface in every home containing lead, along with leaded care fumes. I’m not saying I buy it, but it’s not hard to come up with many correlations and theories. As the social scientists would say, the drop in crime is “over-determined.”

        • avatarIn Memphis says:

          Oh I got your original point. I grew up in a house with lead paint and the head of my bed was next to some chipped paint. I turned out alright… I think lol

  8. Makes sense to me, for sure a lot more sense than John Lott’s crazy idea.

    • avatarDavid-p says:

      You mean the same thing Harvard just said. Didn’t Obama go to Harvard?

    • avatarJarhead1982 says:

      Yeah, that baby boomer age group, the largest to exist in history so far is just getting too old to commit crimes as they did in their 20-30′s has absolutely nothing to do with it eh, LOL.

      The corresponding drop in number of active criminals as they 1) were killed 2) were caught & imprisoned 3) got smarterand didnt get caught 4) got too old to keep committing crimes.

      Someone care to do a comparison, 1946-1964 is the age range of baby boomers.

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/66/US_Birth_Rates.svg

      So did the US start to see a rise in violent crime in the late 60′s to early 70′s yeah, we sure did.

      It peaked right about the time the end of the baby boomers was 25-30 yrs of age (1989-1994) and has been going down steadily since, hmmm, amazing that sure seems to match up with the following.

      Then we have the curve, or distribution on criminal activity peaking between 18-24 then going down, but those with a tendency to commit aggravated asault stay well active to 36.

      http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=922&page=23

      You decide!

      • avatarDavid-p says:

        Good study jarhead1982. That’s what I like to see some good scientific study not just a stab in the dark like Wright wrote.

      • Thanks for making the gun-control point. All of it flies in the face of the pro-gun nonsense that more guns is what’s responsible for less crime. There’s so much more to it.

        • avatarJarhead1982 says:

          Oh that more guns in law abiding civilians hands didnt equal more violence, and that in gun ban paradises where you claim gun control was the reason for the reduction, but in reality never has reduced violence, amazing they all had the same variable, they all had baby boomers getting older, sucks to be you!

          Your slipping up, losing your spin master status mikeb, maybe its time you retired before you go the way of all frustrated lefties and go postal!

        • “Oh that more guns in law abiding civilians hands didnt equal more violence”

          Actually this is exactly the problem. Most of the mass shooters were lawful gun owners prior to their making the news.

          The popular pro-gun argument that most gun violence is due to drugs and gangs is not as much of an explanation as you’d like. Too much of the gun violence comes from you guys when you go off the rails.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      And the fact that no one in Chicago, New York, or DC has a cell phone explains their high crime rates.

      • Now that’s an astute come back. The idea is that cell phones and video surveillance and the digital footprints make it harder to get away with crime and may prohibit some of it from even happening. That makes sense to me. No one said it would eliminate all crime. But it does help explain lower crime rates than there might otherwise be.

        • avatartdiinva says:

          Mr. Bonomo:

          The UK is the Surveillance state. Cameras everywhere and no protection from the Bill of Rights. So why is crime out of control and gun crimes increasing at a rapid pace?

          I am also curious how your professional credentials compare to Dr. Lott’s. I know you claim to have experience in the major crimes business but how does that give you the background to critique Lott’s econometric analysis?

        • “crime out of control and gun crimes increasing at a rapid pace”

          You’re repeating what other gun bloggers have made up.

          You know my last name, now you want to know my academic credentials too? By the way, what’s your full name. If you want to keep using mine, shouldn’t you stop hiding behind that silly internet name you’ve given yourself?

        • avatartdiinva says:

          Mr. Bonomo:

          Why do you always evade direct questions?

          John Lott may be right or wrong but I doubt that you have the background or the intelligence to know the difference. If you had half a brain you would have pointed out that it wouldn’t make any difference if the British were allowed to have guns since they can only employ “proportional force” in self defense and all an attacker would have to do is bring a knife to negate the gun. Under British law even successfully using the “right amount” of force could leave the defender vulnerable to an assault charge and jail time. Self defense is, for all intents and purposes, illegal in the UK and that alone may explain why the UK has the highest rate of violent crime among high income countries. See I explained it for you without a positive reference to guns. Instead of providing an answer that any reasonably knowledgeable person could give, you had to call into question known facts that are found in British newspapers with data sourced to the Home Office. Brilliant on your part!

          Why don’t I use my real name? Because the internet is not a place where you leave personally identifiable information laying around. Robert knows my name and location and that’s as good as it gets. If you want to post your particulars in an internet forum that’s your business.

        • Please stop using my last name. For the reasons you just said, I’d appreciate it.

        • avatartdiinva says:

          Mr. Bonomo:

          I believe that you once instructed me to use it and now you want me to use something else. Are you worried that someone you don’t want to find you now knows you are active on the internet? Now perhaps you understand why I use a pseudonym. Tell you what, you give me reason other than you don’t like it and I will stop.

        • I don’t think I ever asked you to call me by my last name. I avoid using it on the internet for the same reasons you do. I asked you to stop. Is that not enough, FLAME DELETED.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      If it makes sense to Mr: Bonomo then how could anyone disagree.

  9. avatarRalph says:

    Proof positive that more sexting = less crime.

  10. I liked the way the pro-gun guy did nothing but make sarcastic jokes. That’s what you guys often do when faced with a reasonable argument. I should know, right?

    • avatarIn Memphis says:

      When we are the ones making reasonable argument, we have room to make jokes.

    • avatarRalph says:

      I liked the way the pro-gun guy did nothing but make sarcastic jokes.

      You mean like Joe Biden during the debate?

      • avatarIn Memphis says:

        Speaking of Biden, whats he been up to latley? I havnt heard anything since he was appointed to the super clandestine anti gun club. Nice to know Obama has so much faith in him, I guess someone has to

    • avatarDavid-p says:

      We make jokes about these studies when there is no science behind it, just a stab in the dark. I could argue the same way Wright did. “Violent crime decreases when more cars have fuel injection”. “Violent crime goes down when body mass index goes up”. “Violent crime goes down the more reality shows are on”. I can’t prove these with science but I could convince a few to say “that makes sense”
      If there was a true scientific correlation ratio then crime would be much lower then it is, as cell phone use is significant.

    • avatarThomas Paine says:

      Actually, in my hood, having an Iphone out is a good way to get robbed.

    • avatarJAS says:

      Here you go Mikey, educate yourself. These are murder rates vs. the rate of gun ownership per 100,000 people. From the 2007 Harvard Study. See any correlation?

      Nation Murder Rate Rate of Gun Ownership
      Russia 20.54 [2002] 4,000
      Luxembourg 9.01 [2002] c. 0
      Hungary 2.22 [2003] 2,000
      Finland 1.98 [2004] 39,000
      Sweden 1.87 [2001] 24,000
      Poland 1.79 [2003] 1,500
      France 1.65 [2003] 30,000
      Denmark 1.21 [2003] 19,000
      Greece 1.12 [2003] 11,000
      Switzerland 0.99 [2003] 16,000
      Germany 0.93 [2003] 30,000
      Norway 0.81 [2001] 36,000
      Austria 0.80 [2002] 17,000

      Study is here:
      http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/jlpp/Vol30_No2_KatesMauseronline.pdf

      Sorry that I can’t format it

  11. avatarWilliam says:

    Everyone KNOWS that cops respond to calls for help from cell phones faster than from landline phones, RIGHT?

  12. avatarGuy22 says:

    Seems like a couple times a week I see some pictures on the local news, of bad guys robbing some place. They always say call if you have some information, etc…
    From the pictures it looks like hoodies, and ball caps are used to hide faces.
    So I think bad guys know that they may be on camera. They also know that if someone sees them they will call it in.
    Crooks aren’t usally smart, but they know some speed is needed.
    The dumb bad guys are already in jail, learning how to be smarter the next time.
    I think a lot of bad guys are in jail right now. But they will get out and start the cycle over.
    Guy22

  13. avatarCA_Chris says:

    There’s been a rash of violent assaults in San Francisco targeting people with cell phones over the last couple years.

    So much for the theory, when new violent crimes are being committed specifically for people’s cell-phones. Also, what stops the criminal from taking your phone first (if you’re unarmed)?

  14. avatarEnsitu says:

    This is an Infantile argument:
    PPL in S.A. are murdered daily specificely for their cell phones

  15. avatarSkyler says:

    Yeah. Chicago had 500 violent gun deaths this year because they banned cell phones.

  16. avatarGyufygy says:

    Perhaps a cell phone has a deterrence effect, if it does not become a target itself. But it’s still a deterrent or only helpful after the fact, same as police. It does not provide an immediate defense.

  17. avatarflboots says:

    Well it looks like cell phones kill people like guns kill people. They also need to be regulated. You can’t believe the socialist in the WH, as he broke his oath of office to defend the Constitution.

  18. avatarAharon says:

    Now the gun-haters latest claim that it’s cell phones which are reducing violent crimes? Several years ago they were claiming it was the 1973 abortion rights ruling ie less unwanted unfordable kids result in dropping crimes starting twenty years later. Personally, I think the reason must be the American high-fat diet and cable TV making thugs lazier and weaker.

  19. avatarPascal says:

    Whatever….I heard one of the Sunday talking heads say the reason we have fewer gun deaths is to better medicine and not more guns used for defense. Everyone needs their 15min I guess. We live in a world where emotions trump facts so might as well say whatever fantasy pixiy dust fanatasy scenario we can come up with.

    George Castanza was correct after all: “Its not a lie if you believe it”

    • avatarBob says:

      Well there actually is some truth to that. “…the reason we have fewer gun deaths is to better medicine…” Due to better emergency medical techniques today, if you can survive the gun shot wound until medical help arrives, there is a much better chance they can save your life.
      Although this may explain some of the decrease in gun deaths, this fact can not explain the decrease in all types of violent crimes.

  20. avatarBob says:

    There are hundreds of trends (increase/decrease in something) that correlate with the decrease in violent crime in the last few decades. Correlation does not prove causation.
    However one can use the lack of correlation to prove a lack of causation. For example, the gun grabbers state as a fact that fewer guns in society will result in lower violent crime rates. Since the exact opposite has happened in the USA and several countries around the world, it proves that this “fact” is false.

    John Lott’s study, although very convincing, is not probitive. Even though there was a strong correlation demonstrated in that study, it still does not prove causation.

    • ” Since the exact opposite has happened in the USA and several countries around the world, it proves that this “fact” is false. ”

      Wrong, dead wrong.

      Isn’t it possible that if gun ownership had decreased, crime rates would have fallen even more? Of course it is. By your own rules of correlation does not equal causation, this is possible. So, your proof is nothing more than wishful thinking and biased crap.

  21. avatarAccur81 says:

    It’s all fun and games until the bad guy jacks your cell phone.

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