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Why Did Violent Crime Rates Increase in the 1980s?

According to a study published in The National Academics Press of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, incarceration rates from 1945-1974 were relatively stable. The rates varied from 93-119 inmates per population of 100,000 people.

During the 1980s, prison populations began to increase substantially and have continued to climb in the present years. Today, a total of 2.3 million people are incarcerated in the United States. That’s a rate of 698 people per 100,000.

Continue reading to learn more about why this shift occurred.

Increased Sanctions

The uptick in prison populations in the 1980s around the country mimicked rises in various types of crimes as sanctions began to increase.

From 1975-1989, there were significant widespread increases in the following:

  1. The risk of being committed to prison after being arrested.
  2. The amount of time served by those who entered prison.

However, the risk of inmates spending more time in prison was greater than the risk of being committed to prison after being arrested.

During that time, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania experienced the aforementioned phenomena at higher rates than other states. This is largely due to the enactment of sentencing reforms that increased penalties for certain offenses.

Societal Cost

The fact that law enforcement has become increasingly reliant on incarceration as a form of punishment has resulted in substantially higher costs to society regarding prison populations.

With all of these penalty increases, one may logically assume that the prevalence of violent crimes has decreased significantly. Unfortunately, this assumption would be inaccurate.

There has only been about a 5-10% decrease in the rate of violent crimes committed since the tougher sanctions were put in place. In fact, it has been reported that a small group of particularly high-rate offenders are responsible for a significant portion of all crimes committed.

If you’ve been injured because you were the victim of a violent crime, we may be able to help you seek the justice you deserve. Our team here at The Abrego Law Firm, LLC is highly experienced in the area of personal injury law and has helped many other people just like you achieve justice. Don’t wait—contact our team with your case right away.

Call The Abrego Law Firm, LLC today at (404) 334-3324 to speak with an accomplished attorney about your case.