If you're a crime fighter or a sociologist, the 1990s offer many chances for scratching your head. Crime rates across America dropped dramatically. Murder rates were down by as much as 42 percent; robbery by as much as 44 percent. Why? Some credit the efforts of police, and high incarceration rates; others say it was the drop in crack cocaine use, or a robust economy. We talk with social scientists about crime. Can sorting out its causes make for better public policy?
Franklin Zimring, author, The Great American Crime Decline
William G. Simon, Professor of Law and Wolfen Distinguished Scholar at the Boalt Hall School of Law of the University of California, Berkeley
Richard Rosenfeld, professor, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis
Janet Lauritsen, professor, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis
Alfred Blumstein, J. Erik Jonsson University Professor of Urban Systems and Operations Research, director of the National Consortium on Violence Research at the Heinz School of Public Policy & Management at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.