The Rise and Decline of Homicide – and Why
Publication: Annual Review of Public Health
Topics: Age Group Crime Domestic Violence Ethnicity Gun Carrying Legislation and Policy
Keywords: CRIME Cocaine Firearms Violence drugs
Bibliographic information +
The authors review the homicide trends in the U.S. from the early 1970s to the late 1990s, noting that homicide rates increased dramatically in the latter half of the 1980s, peaked in the 1990s and then declined dramatically. The rise predominantly involved young African-American males, most of whom had poor economic prospects and was associated with the sudden availability of crack cocaine in the drug markets of large cities and the associated widespread availability and use of guns. Factors associated with the subsequent drop in homicide rates include decline in the drug market, determination by the police to confiscate guns from young people who carried them illegally, efforts to restrict people’s access to guns, improving legitimate job prospects for youths, increase in the prison population and a decrease in intimate-partner violence. The authors recommend that these lessons should form the basis of short- and long-term interventions to both reduce and prevent violent crimes.
Blumstein, A., Rivara, F.P., Rosenfeld R. (2000). The Rise and Decline of Homicide – and Why. Annual Review of Public Health, 21 (1), 505-541.
Blumstein, A., et al. “The Rise and Decline of Homicide – and Why.” Annual Review of Public Health 21.1 (2000): 505-541.