Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Violent Games Credited With Reducing Crime Levels

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the batman-still-unappreciated dept.

Crime 209

maroberts writes "According to a research paper produced from a collaboration between the University of Texas and the Centre for European Economic Research, violent video games may induce aggressive behavior, but the incapacitation effect outweighs this and produces a genuine reduction in violent crime. This paper was referenced in a BBC news story giving reasons why the US crime rates are falling (at least outside the prisons!)"

cancel ×

209 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I'm going to murder you. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36538944)

With my dick!

Re:I'm going to murder you. (1)

JohnRoss1968 (574825) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540202)

So its like the death of a thousand paper cuts...but with needle marks?

Similar to how pornography reduced sex crimes... (2)

noobermin (1950642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538946)

in Japan...although it could be due to cultural influences in that case.

Re:Similar to how pornography reduced sex crimes.. (1, Insightful)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538970)

Perhaps, but the remaining sex crimes showed increased instances of tentacle use.

Re:Similar to how pornography reduced sex crimes.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539052)

That's because tentacle monsters are just visitors to japan and come from a far more sexually repressed society. When they get to japan they just go berserk.

On the other hand, it's well known that permanent resident tentacle monsters in japan are very polite and productive members of society.

Re:Similar to how pornography reduced sex crimes.. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539256)

Be careful now, this is a very sensitive subject. Please refrain from calling them "tentacle monsters". The preferred nomenclature is "bothria enabled people".

Tentacles in India for thousand years. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539298)

They're called Elephants, but the least-endowed ones created Islam ever since the jew mis-circumcised their noses.

Re:Tentacles in India for thousand years. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539526)

Ah, is it a troll or just another genuine 'conservative'?

Re:Tentacles in India for thousand years. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539660)

Are you trying to defend male genital mutilation?

Re:Similar to how pornography reduced sex crimes.. (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540578)

That's because tentacle monsters are just visitors to japan and come from a far more sexually repressed society. When they get to japan they just go berserk.

On the other hand, it's well known that permanent resident tentacle monsters in japan are very polite and productive members of society.

But if you ever see a gang of snorks, fscking run!

Re:Similar to how pornography reduced sex crimes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539100)

Those sex crimes are commonly misattributed.

In America, the women claim rape after being shamefully impregnated during consensual sex.

In Japan, the women claim rape after being shamefully molested by sentient cephalopods.

Not just in Japan (2)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539376)

Not just in Japan, actually. Last I've seen, just about anywhere where they could put some numbers on historical access to pornography, it correlates the same way with a reduction in sex crimes.

I don't think there's all that much cultural about it. A similar effect has been noticed before between splatter movies and violent crimes, for example. When a new one starts in theatres, for the next couple of days you see less less assaults and such. If nothing else, because they're in the theatre instead of on the streets.

Pretty much the same for porn, really. If there's an easier outlet for either sex urges or power over someone fantasies, well, more people take the road that's less risky. Plus, they can't be both at home spanking the monkey and out raping someone.

Makes sense for the games too, if you think of it. As I was saying, the correlation was already noticed for movies.

Re:Not just in Japan (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540012)

Not just in Japan, actually. Last I've seen, just about anywhere where they could put some numbers on historical access to pornography, it correlates the same way with a reduction in sex crimes.

I've run across this as well, though googling for it doesn't quite yield the results I was looking for.

[some stuff about violent movies correlating with reduced crime rates]. Makes sense for the games too, if you think of it. As I was saying, the correlation was already noticed for movies.

I'd expect the effect to be stronger with games. With a movie, you can pretend and fantasize it's you doing it, but a game is much more immersive. If you need that kind of outlet, a violent game is about as close as you can get without actually doing it.

Re:Not just in Japan (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541170)

With a movie, you can pretend and fantasize it's you doing it, but a game is much more immersive. If you need that kind of outlet, a violent game is about as close as you can get without actually doing it.

There is no connection between real life and game violence. If you "need that kind of outlet" of violence, playing a game isn't going to do it for you. They're not that fucking realistic.

We need to give up the quota system. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539466)

Reducing crime levels should not be the goal. The goal should be to make communities feel safer.

Mass arrests of petty criminals does not make the community feel safer. Arrests of violent criminals makes the community feel safer.

Rather than chasing after meaningless numbers which only mean something to politicians and police chiefs, they should actually communicate with the community they are policing to ask them what they need.

So when you read "reducing crime levels", ask yourself which crimes? Crimes that matter or just a vague abstract "crime" statistic that only matters to the police?

Re:We need to give up the quota system. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539554)

Reducing relative and absolute crime levels should very much be an objective of government. Violent criminals are few and far between, whilst petty crimes grind away at society day by day. It's *nice* when you can leave your door unlocked and no-one comes in, or if you leave the gps in the car by accident, it's still there when you come back. You can then spend the day doing something productive, rather than mending broken windows and replacing stolen goods.

Shoplifting eats into shop's margins and forces them to hire more personnel to guard the shelves. otherwise those people could be gainfully employed making new things to sell in the shops (or they could start shops on their own).

And when there is less crime, people are more likely to be trusting towards each other, and are more likely to do business.

To put it another way: Don't lose sight of the little things!

Re:We need to give up the quota system. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540190)

Reducing relative and absolute crime levels should very much be an objective of government. Violent criminals are few and far between, whilst petty crimes grind away at society day by day. It's *nice* when you can leave your door unlocked and no-one comes in, or if you leave the gps in the car by accident, it's still there when you come back. You can then spend the day doing something productive, rather than mending broken windows and replacing stolen goods.

Shoplifting eats into shop's margins and forces them to hire more personnel to guard the shelves. otherwise those people could be gainfully employed making new things to sell in the shops (or they could start shops on their own).

And when there is less crime, people are more likely to be trusting towards each other, and are more likely to do business.

To put it another way: Don't lose sight of the little things!

Nobody is defending shoplifters or violent criminals. I'm saying the police don't actually seem to take statistics on how safe the community feels. Do they even care?

Re:We need to give up the quota system. (3, Informative)

adonoman (624929) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540988)

If you just want to reduce how safe a community feels, then just reduce media coverage of crime. There's little correlation over time between crime rates and "feeling safe". It's nearly entirely based on how much our politicians want to keep up afraid, so we'll support their agenda, and how much the news is trying to boost ratings by being sensationalistic. This is why there are no "crime rate" stories for the 5 years in a row when the rates are falling, and on the 6th year, when it ticks up a bit, every local station is all over the "story".

RTFA (3, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539760)

RTFA. Srsly.

Both TFA's don't just talk about crime levels, they talk explicitly about reducing VIOLENT crime levels. So, yes, it's a good thing, regardless of how you feel about petty crime.

Besides, I don't think the goal of the police is to worry about people's existential angst. Crime is something that one can objectively measure, while communities' feelings are subjective and unpredictable. You can't say that the police failed to do their job, if some scaremongering politician makes them feel less safe in spite of reduced crime.

Or to quote Dara O'Briain, who puts it the best: "[i]I give out when people talk about crime going up, but the numbers are definitely down. And if you go, "The numbers are down", they go, "Ahh, but the *fear* of crime is rising." Well, so fucking what? Zombies are at an all-time low level, but the fear of zombies could be incredibly high. It doesn't mean you have to have government policies to deal with the fear of zombies.[/i]"

Like hate? (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540196)

Because you can reduce hate crimes, that can be objectively measured right?

Re:RTFA (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540804)

A little tip: for italics it's <i> give out when people talk about crime going up, but the numbers are definitely down. And if you go, "The numbers are down", they go, "Ahh, but the *fear* of crime is rising." Well, so fucking what? Zombies are at an all-time low level, but the fear of zombies could be incredibly high. It doesn't mean you have to have government policies to deal with the fear of zombies</i>

Depends on the forum, unfortunately (0)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540910)

Yeah, but unfortunately different forums have different ideas about how markup should work. Virtually all the PHP ones use square brackets, for example. Slashdot is just one board out of many for me, and really the one I read the least lately. So, you know, reflexes kick in and all that.

Re:We need to give up the quota system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539826)

With logic like yours, it is no wonder we have the security theater of the TSA.

Re:We need to give up the quota system. (1)

icebrain (944107) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540060)

Reducing crime levels should not be the goal. The goal should be to make communities feel safer.

Huh? What good does it do to make people feel safer if you don't actually reduce crime?

I agree that "reducing crime" =/= "making more arrests"; any DA or CLEO that says "look at how many arrests I made" is essentially saying "look at how many people I put in a cage". Yes, arresting the right people will help reduce crimes because you're getting the repeat offenders off the street, but just as important in reducing crime is effective community policing and intervention. Arresting hookers and teenage pot smokers makes your numbers look good, but doesn't actually do anything to make the community safer.

To do that, kids need intervention to break them out of the cycle of increasing crime and get them back in school. Police need to get out there and patrol, getting to know the neighborhood and making a positive presence in the community instead of hiding out and making revenue-enhancing traffic stops. People need to take more steps to help avoid and deter crime and protect themselves from it. Parents need to be more involved with their kids. And so on.

Point is, feeling safe and being safe are not necessarily the same thing.

Re:We need to give up the quota system. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540226)

Reducing crime levels should not be the goal. The goal should be to make communities feel safer.

Huh? What good does it do to make people feel safer if you don't actually reduce crime?

I agree that "reducing crime" =/= "making more arrests"; any DA or CLEO that says "look at how many arrests I made" is essentially saying "look at how many people I put in a cage". Yes, arresting the right people will help reduce crimes because you're getting the repeat offenders off the street, but just as important in reducing crime is effective community policing and intervention. Arresting hookers and teenage pot smokers makes your numbers look good, but doesn't actually do anything to make the community safer.

To do that, kids need intervention to break them out of the cycle of increasing crime and get them back in school. Police need to get out there and patrol, getting to know the neighborhood and making a positive presence in the community instead of hiding out and making revenue-enhancing traffic stops. People need to take more steps to help avoid and deter crime and protect themselves from it. Parents need to be more involved with their kids. And so on.

Point is, feeling safe and being safe are not necessarily the same thing.

Because the police cannot make anyone actually safe, it's all about whether or not the community feels safe.
A community that feels safe wouldn't need to hire as many police which is why police typically criminalize a lot of victimless behaviors in order to look like they are doing something for the community.

Reducing violent crime on paper doesn't mean it's reduced in practice. It simply means less people are reporting violent crimes.
Increasing violent crime on paper doesn't mean there is more or less violence, it simply means the arrest and conviction rate along with the amount of reports have increased.

What this means is that a lot of violence will never be reported. A lot of murders will never be found or arrested by the police, and when they are it might be the police in another state or another country. In the end no one is actually safe, you just have some communities which live under the illusion that they are safe and some communities which know from experience that they aren't safe. In reality we aren't safe, and never have been, and the police only exist to help us feel safe.

If someone is going to physically destroy you, the police cannot protect you.

Re:We need to give up the quota system. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540546)

Reducing crime levels should not be the goal. The goal should be to make communities feel safer.

Yet it seems that they're constantly trying to make us feel less safe, getting us terrified of "dangers" that really are insignifigant, like brain cancer from cell phones (what a joke) and terrorists.

And "petty" non-violent crimes aren't so petty when you're the victim. My house was burglarized last year, let me tell you that's worse than being punched in the face. [slashdot.org]

Re:Similar to how pornography reduced sex crimes.. (0)

anti-pop-frustration (814358) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539906)

Similar to how pornography reduced sex crimes in Japan

I think we have to be very careful when comparing crime statistics between countries (a well known problem in criminology) and this is especially true with sex crimes. Crime statistics only reflects what has been reported and processed as an actual crime by the system, depending in which country you live this may accurately reflect reality or be completely off.

Things are getting better now but the police in Japan is know for their very poor handling of sex crime victims. This alone greatly affects how many crimes are being reported. Then there are cultural factors that may also lead victims not to report crimes in order to avoid the social consequences of being victimized. Japan being a more group-oriented society than the west, the incentive not to report to "avoid causing troubles" is also stronger. This is a highly political matter since properly taking care of victims and helping them report abuse will actually make the crime rate go *up*. Which would be a very positive outcome for society but a disastrous one for the politician taking that decision.

Does pornography reduce sex crimes? I don't know. I strongly believe it does, but that's just my sentiment.

Re:Similar to how pornography reduced sex crimes.. (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540044)

Crime statistics only reflects what has been reported and processed as an actual crime by the system, depending in which country you live this may accurately reflect reality or be completely off.

Barring some mafia-esque effort to actively reduce crime reporting, it's probably safe that the percentage of a given crime that gets reported remains relatively static. I would expect that, even in Japan, a reduction in the number of reported rapes likely correlates to a real world reduction in actual rapes.

Re:Similar to how pornography reduced sex crimes.. (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540946)

Imagine if they were allowed to show genitalia!

Chinese model (2)

EnempE (709151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538954)

Maybe they should have Computers in the prisons, like they do in china. [thestar.com] Exchange Virtual Gold for cigarettes ...

Re:Chinese model (1)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539040)

Or worse they'll mine Bitcoins and we'll have to hear about it here.

Other benefits of violent games... (1)

pumpknhd (575415) | more than 3 years ago | (#36538980)

less babies and less appetite. I'm gonna go get my neighbor an XBOX...

incapacitation effect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36538998)

The study apparently shows that playing violent games makes you more violent, but that overall you spend more time playing violent games than someone who doesn't play violent games, and so have less time to actually commit violent crimes. So if playing violent games take up 10% of my time but makes me only 5% more violent then the violent crime rate as a result of me will go down. I'm not thinking this is a great confirmation of the virtues of violent games, as presumably anything that incapacitates people will work, even if it doesn't make them more violent at all. So for an even better result you might try nonviolent games, free prostitutes, or marijauna (just tie the subjects down in case they experience an episode of reefer madness).

Re:incapacitation effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539200)

yes, but playing the violent or the non-violent games both stop you from committing violence...so how is it a "better result" if it's non-violent games?

Re:incapacitation effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539236)

yes, but playing the violent or the non-violent games both stop you from committing violence...so how is it a "better result" if it's non-violent games?

because non-violent games would then further reduce violent crime.

Re:incapacitation effect? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541174)

That depends, perhaps violent people prefer violent games, so non-violent games don't hold their interest so long.

Re:incapacitation effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539436)

Because the violent games might increase the "violentness" of the crimes committed by gamers during their off-gaming time, even if that time is reduced. Sure, he commits fewer violent crimes now, due to his gaming addiction, but when he is not gaming, his crimes have gone from simple assault to murder.

Re:incapacitation effect? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539382)

The study apparently shows that playing violent games makes you more violent

It shows that video games permanently make someone more violent (and not just having temporary aggressive thoughts)?

Re:incapacitation effect? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539550)

> So for an even better result you might try nonviolent games, free prostitutes, or marijauna (just tie the subjects down in case they experience an episode of reefer madness).

The existence of C does not modify the relative merits of A and B. You don't have an iron hand with which you can force people to lead the lifestyle you consider "optimal". For some individuals, the time use preference order is violent video games > violent crime > nonviolent video games, prostitutes and marijuana, and we do not have the power to change people's desires, so we have to work with what we have, and given what we have it seems that violent video games are beneficial.

Not necessarily (2)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540106)

Not exactly.

1. They don't say that violent games cause an increase in VIOLENT CRIME, but in aggression. Which is a whole other dish. One can be aggressive in various ways that don't actually involve bashing someone's head in.

The difference is basically like that between feeling horny and rape. Even if, say, pornography makes people hornier, it doesn't also make them go rape someone. I'm using that example because we already have a damn good correlation between access to pornography and a dramatic reduction in rape incidence over the years.

So basically it's not as simple as having a +10% crime safety and a -5% crime safety there to sum up. There is nothing in there that says you actually even have a - at all.

2. On the same note, if it's increased aggression that only happens in games, then who cares? You'd only have a - there if it translates to violence outside the games, which nobody showed yet. In fact even for aggression, nobody showed a longer term effect than the next couple of hours.

Again, I'll return to what we know about pornography and rape. Sure, pornography makes people horny, BUT it also offers the easiest outlet for that. It's easier to just spank the monkey and be done with it, than shut down the browser and go look for someone to rape.

On the same note, if violent games make people aggressive, BUT also offer a more immediate way to vent that aggression, then basically there is no - there at all. There is some increased aggression... in a game. Who cares?

Or to put it in an example less emotionally loaded than pornography, think buying a scratching post for your cat. Sure, it may make the cat scratch more than if it had nothing available, but it doesn't mean more scratching on your furniture. Scratching more on the post, who cares about that?

3. That duality between maybe increased urges, but also a way to vent them, is important when it's not the only way to get such urges in the first place. A way to work out that aggression without actually harming anyone can work not just for aggression from games, but for aggression that was there without games too. And you can't just decree what else should work for venting it.

Basically if someone is feeling aggressive, you can't just tell them to vent it on playing The Sims 3 instead of Call Of Duty. If the game they're allowed doesn't scratch the itch they have, then you don't just have the + without the -, you don't have the + in the first place.

Basically same as it works for the aforementioned pornography correlation. If someone is feeling horny, you can't really tell them to go pray and do wholesome activities and thoughts instead, because it doesn't work that way. We have thousands of years of trying to tell them that, and it didn't work as well as in theory. We tried to preach chivalrous courtly love and non-sexual thoughts, and even threaten people with hell if they don't, but it turns out they still went and raped someone. Then comes an age of just letting them watch porn and spank the monkey, and, what d you know? Something that actually scratches the itch works better than just telling them to pretend the itch doesn't exist.

Or same as the cat and the scratch post. You can't just tell the cat to do something else instead of scratching, because the urge is there anyway. If there is no scratching post or surface, you get scratched carpets and furniture, and that's that. The thing that works is to give it something better than your furniture to scratch.

Re:incapacitation effect? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540670)

So for an even better result you might try nonviolent games, free prostitutes, or marijauna

I agree, we should try all of those things.

Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539016)

Correlation does not equal causation.

Just because we like the results, doesn't make it true.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539430)

In this case, I'd say there's a strong possibility that it is true, though. There's even a word for why: catharsis. In caveman days, somebody pissed a guy off, he'd go beat the crap out of that person. Testosterone is a fight or flight hormone. Can't really do that today. Beating the crap out of pixels achieves the same release for him. It's the same as taking a weapon to a range and unloading into a target, or going to a gym/dojo and sparring, only less exercise.

At least that's how I would explain it. Whether that's how anybody else would explain it, I don't know. But I have long suspected that there's a cathartic effect when playing violent video games.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539980)

I'd have to agree. When work pisses me off and I start getting angry at everything, playing violent video games (in which I tend to get very angry at the game) leaves me feeling a lot calmer afterwards. It is like a kind of release, a way to get rid of the anger and frustration without actually hurting anyone.
Playing non-violent games doesn't seem to do it, in fact I often find myself getting angrier and finish playing feeling worse than I did before.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541282)

But engaging in real violence makes you feel sick, light-headed, exhausted and shaky after the adrenalin high. So until games replicate that, I don't see how they're having the same physiological or psychological effect.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (2)

azalin (67640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539988)

Testosterone is a fight or flight hormone.

Adrenalin is one, Testosterone is not. It makes hairy balls and sweaty thoughts. It also stays active your whole life and only the level varies.
High levels do increase aggressive behavior though. Still no fight and flight hormone, sorry.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539614)

There could be a lot more extra factors.

1. Birth Control is far more commonly used now then in the previous generation. Perhaps there are less unwanted kids and more planned children who are better cared for so they don't become criminals.

2. Revival in religion. Yea I know this is Slashdot and a lot of the readers here are Atheists or against religion in one form or an other, but there has been a resurgence in religious people. Which teaches at least to stop people from doing unorganized violence.

3. Greater tolerance. Towards People of difference races, religions, and sexual preferences. I am not saying it is perfect but it is getting better.

4. Improved conditions for the poor. Sure the gap between the rich and the poor is growing however the poor now have a better standard of life then they did in the past.

5. Internet, A wealth of stuff to keep you pacified for long periods of time.

6. Stranger Danger. We as a culture has grew up in fear of everyone outside your house, there is a lot less talking and gossiping with neighbors, thus less violence as everyone is so afraid of everyone else that they will dare not to do anything to shake the cage.

7. Aging population. A good part of the population is getting too old to beat the crap out of each other.

8. 9/11 changed everything. Knowing or at least reconfirming that there are "outsiders" who are after us keep us united.

9. Gang awareness and prevention programs, including suburban towns.

10. To many camera, Every (well nearly every) one has a phone with a camera, any crime can have someone taking a picture or a hd movie of it.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (3, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540222)

1. Birth Control is far more commonly used now then in the previous generation. Perhaps there are less unwanted kids and more planned children who are better cared for so they don't become criminals.

Actually access to abortion, not just birth control, has been singled out _in the US_ as the main cause (and not just correlation) in the drop of violence in the last 20 or so years. The causation has been determined thanks to the delay between access to abortion in a community and the time it takes for the unwanted kids to grow up into criminals. Choice quote: "Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime". More [wikimedia.org]

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36540526)

Not really, though. It's still a highly controversial subject (as also stated in your reference).
If you analyze the hypothesis for other countries, the 20-year delay-argument pretty much goes away.

Graphs:
http://lodel.irevues.inist.fr/crimprev/index.php?id=185
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/section?content=a923242561&fulltext=713240928
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/070718/dq070718b-eng.htm
http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=154

I've been tempted to think that the fall of the Soviet Union is in important factor, but that is of course, merely speculation.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (3, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540312)

2. Revival in religion. Yea I know this is Slashdot and a lot of the readers here are Atheists or against religion in one form or an other, but there has been a resurgence in religious people. Which teaches at least to stop people from doing unorganized violence.

Unfortunately, there's at least one study that strongly suggests that atheists are less likely to commit crime than religious adherents [creighton.edu] .

4. Improved conditions for the poor. Sure the gap between the rich and the poor is growing however the poor now have a better standard of life then they did in the past.

The poor in the US have an income that's basically identical in real dollars to the income of the poor in 1970. For instance, this graph [wikipedia.org] from data from the US census.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540396)

I'm sure all of those things have a huge effect on weekly changes in crime rates.

Yes Bob, I saw is on the internet it must be true. jellomizer says that crime went down last month because of easier access to birth control and changes because more people got religion. It went up this month because people got younger and they must have removed some cameras.

And 9/11 matters so much when you are considering crime changes on a 2005-20009 time frame.

Seriously are you retarded?

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540534)

2. Revival in religion. Yea I know this is Slashdot and a lot of the readers here are Atheists or against religion in one form or an other, but there has been a resurgence in religious people. Which teaches at least to stop people from doing unorganized violence.

Yea, the organized violence isnt too bad, its the unorganized stuff thats BAD. Oh man, especially when you see an unorganized person doing unorganized violence, with their scruffy appearance, bringing the wrong weapons, its just soo unprofessional, why do they even bother ...

GOOD Violence: Crusades, Holly wars;
BAD Violence: Gay bashing, Genital mutilation (unless its properly organized); /sarcasm

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540844)

Birth Control is far more commonly used now then in the previous generation.

Citation needed. This ties into the next one:

Revival in religion. Yea I know this is Slashdot and a lot of the readers here are Atheists or against religion in one form or an other, but there has been a resurgence in religious people.

That must have been very uncomfortable for them. When I get a resurgence I take papaya enzyme. Citation needed; also, Catholicism is one of the few religions still on the rise; as the developed world is now rejecting Catholicism over being a branch of NAMBLA this is pretty much restricted to impoverished brown people. Catholics are not known for using birth control; quite the opposite. Ditto for Mexicans — you may be getting that uncomfortable feeling right now but look at it from a logical standpoint, it's a survival strategy for a harsh land that was shared by everyone who lived in the region previously. pre-Spain Central America had a lot of human sacrifice by way of population control.

Greater tolerance. Towards People of difference races, religions, and sexual preferences. I am not saying it is perfect but it is getting better.

I reject the idea that we are becoming more tolerant at any kind of increased rate. Familiarity breeds content; but we just shift our bigotry to new groups as the old ones drop off the chart.

Improved conditions for the poor. Sure the gap between the rich and the poor is growing however the poor now have a better standard of life then they did in the past.

Sure, they starve while watching TV instead of starving while reading.

Internet, A wealth of stuff to keep you pacified for long periods of time.

The internet is way less pacifying than television. Most of the people spending hours with it formerly spent them watching TV.

Stranger Danger.

...is a myth. You mean, perceived stranger danger. The people your kid knows are still its biggest threat.

Aging population. A good part of the population is getting too old to beat the crap out of each other.

Any human can kill any other human barring crap like quadriplegia.

9/11 changed everything. Knowing or at least reconfirming that there are "outsiders" who are after us keep us united.

No, it only emphasizes our differences. You have only to watch comedy to see that white and black people see each other as fundamentally different. Which might be correct after all, who knows? I'm just talking about perception. (I blame environment.)

Gang awareness and prevention programs, including suburban towns.

Gang activity is as high as ever. Most of it now goes down in border towns. California has craploads of all kinds of gang activity. Our local Sheriff's department recently prevented a motorcycle gang war from happening in this county through a whole bunch of police harassment. Mexican gangs are broadly involved in clandestine drug production here. And then we have home-grown gangs as well of course; we have several of the country's most dangerous cities here.

To many camera, Every (well nearly every) one has a phone with a camera, any crime can have someone taking a picture or a hd movie of it.

Doesn't seem to deter criminals with or without badges.

A list of ridiculously unfounded assertions? Meh.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539870)

Yup, it could have just as easily be the feminism movement that eventually gave women the ability to earn their own substantial income and avenues to stop even 'traditional abuse'. In fact, that would be my guess as to the biggest factor, but according to reactionary talk radio feminism is akin to Nazism, so people don't really talk about it much. Otherwise you get some right winger crying about how a feminist once called him a pig, or some other anecdotal 'evidence'.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (1)

Cloud K (125581) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540122)

This.

I get annoyed when people use, shall we say, "creative interpretation" to claim that video games cause violence... whilst it's nice to balance it out with the opposite, it'd be kind of hypocritical to support this method of jumping to conclusions just because it's suddenly in our favour.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36540336)

Ditto. Typical slashdot double standard when a 'study' that is about our hobbies is 'approved' by the 'almighty and righteous BBC' makes it true.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541268)

I'm not sure this is a double standard at all. The study actually claims that violent games make people more agressive, so nobody is hailing this as some kind of proof that games don't make people violent. The "duh" factor here is that people who are stuck indoors playing games for 17 hours a day aren't going to be committing violent crime. Whether you believe games make people violent or not I'm sure both sides to the argument can agree that if you're busy doing something else you're less likely to be committing crime. Not everything is some kind of /. groupthink conspiracy, you know.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36540398)

That is true, but importantly there is no correlation for people claiming the reverse, that video games are responsible for violence.

Re:Fuck you guys, someone has to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36540550)

And just because you say "correlation does not equal causation," doesn't make it false.

There's less crime because they don't go outside. (3, Interesting)

Senes (928228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539026)

They develop violent feelings but they take it all out on their fictional characters. They stop going outside (thousands of years of children spent their days outside because they lacked TV and vidya) so they aren't around other people even if they have all kinds of aggressive hormones flowing to compel them to pick a fight with the next person they see.

Re:There's less crime because they don't go outsid (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539216)

They develop violent feelings but they take it all out on their fictional characters. They stop going outside (thousands of years of children spent their days outside because they lacked TV and vidya) so they aren't around other people even if they have all kinds of aggressive hormones flowing to compel them to pick a fight with the next person they see.

I'm not sure I like this line of the argumentation. To me it's very much like saying: "Drugs actually reduce the crime rate: most of the time a junkie is stoned, so he doesn't have time to do it". (not that I equate violent games with drugs, neither I'm convinced that playing violent games increase the agresiveness in real-life).

Re:There's less crime because they don't go outsid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36541244)

So video games are just a form of drug that has less side effects?

Re:There's less crime because they don't go outsid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539238)

The population is aging. For several generations, people have been failing to reproduce in sufficient numbers to replace themselves, and the average age of the population is much older than in previous decades. Old people don't commit as much crime.

Of course, video games distract people from breeding, so they certainly are playing their part...

Re:There's less crime because they don't go outsid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539542)

They develop violent feelings but they take it all out on their fictional characters.

Maybe not. The abstract for the article says:

Second, they suggest a larger voluntary incapacitation effect in which playing either violent or non-violent games decrease crimes

(Emphasis mine.)

So it isn't necessarily about games inducing violent tendencies and then taking it out on a virtual victim, because the article suggests that playing a game as docile and harmless as, I don't know, Tetris could possibly do the same thing. The conclusions say that:

(Games may reduce violence by) simply shifting these individuals out of alternative activities where crime is more likely to occur.

So it may be more about giving bored, disaffected people with nothing better to do than happy-slap random passers by something else to spend their time on.

Re:There's less crime because they don't go outsid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539544)

Alternate theory. High unemployment means more people are home during the day and it's harder to commit a crime of opportunity.

Not the cause. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539030)

The ultimate cause of crime reduction in the U.S. is Roe v. Wade. Abortion selects against poor people, and poor people commit more crimes due to desperation.

Re:Not the cause. (5, Insightful)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539050)

Nope. Abortion selects against unwanted children, who are most likely to develop without loving parental guidance.

Re:Not the cause. (2, Interesting)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539102)

The actual cause is not merely that it servers as an outlet for aggression, but that it also serves to dilute the overall effect of social anger. That is, you give enough sparkly lights and distractions and toys to even the most frustrated person and they will largely stop doing bad things.

In other words, your kids are learning to play video games instead of doing things like camping and hunting and so on - so even if they wanted to do anything, they largely would lack the tools and knowledge to do so. And with their pre-programmed miserably short attention spans, it's too much work to, say, figure out how to make a weapon. They just give up after five minutes and decide to vent their anger by shooting zombies.

But I do fear that our kids won't have those same skills that are possibly going to be necessary at some point in the future. Basic skills like camping, hunting, doing repairs, electronics, basic chemistry, and so on led to the last couple of generations that were much more prepared for anything that the world threw at them. Then we hit the current kids... And you can just see the acres of vapid drones on any college campus. For all of that anger that was displaced, it seems that much of the ambition, drive, and self-sufficiency was also taken away with it.

Re:Not the cause. (1)

CFTM (513264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539354)

Socrates complained about "the kids these days" as well, so I'm guessing that your perception of college students being "vapid drones" is nothing new. The world changes, and kids tend to change the fastest because there are the least number of society driven inhibitions indoctrinated into them. This generation of "vapid drones" merely reflects the changes that constant access to media is having on us.

And, uh, last I checked most 18-22 year olds arn't incredibly ambitious, driven nor self-sufficient and I doubt this is new. They care about getting drunk and getting laid, this is a phase of life. Let them enjoy it.

And to be fair, we did have a generation of 18-22 year olds, in recent history, who contributed a great deal to society. But that was because of extraordinary circumstances and in my opinion is not directly linked to their inherent nobility or altruism (The generation who came of age during WWII).

Things only happen when they have to....

Re:Not the cause. (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36541192)

No, it's far worse than at any time in human history. The real sad thing about video games and modern media (internet and all of the rest) is that the major effect of them seems to be that it causes a lack of focus in life due to the incredible ease by which one can escape from reality. I notice this with my 12 year old son. He wants to be online and talk and chat and play games instead of doing anything that is actually connected to real people or that requires that he use his actual skills or body. And I'm severely limiting his access as it is. He's essentially powerless to avoid it as it's just too powerful. I hear him complain about how all of his friends have Black Ops at least once a week. Shoot, even most adults now are completely sucked into it all. Distraction and eye-candy is everywhere and is as easy to obtain as a click or the time that it takes to load a game up on your screen.

Considering that the idea of the "American Dream" that you go to school, get a degree, work for an employer or two, and then retire is essentially dead at this point and that everyone will be forced to innovate and find a way to make it work without any safety net in the near future, we're facing a real problem of an entire generation that will simply lack the skills to deal with it all.

Re:Not the cause. (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539410)

Basic skills like camping, hunting, doing repairs, electronics

I didn't know those were basic skills. Camping and hunting are irrelevant to me. I like neither. And since these people are playing video games instead of doing these things, perhaps the same is true of them. And how are those important? I'd think that you would only need to learn how to camp or hunt if you wanted to do either of those things (the same could be said about the other things as well).

Re:Not the cause. (1)

Greystripe (1985692) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539662)

Clearly you've never been involved in violence (as either a victim or a perpetrator). Hunting and camping skills have very little crossover to violent crime skills. I've never heard of or seen anyone using a rifle or bow at range to mug someone. Gutting and skinning a deer takes far more skill than waving a knife in someone's face and making demands. Most violent crimes only require the physical ability to wield a weapon and the determination to go through with it. Tools are just as easy to get now as then, most violent crimes perpetrated by children/young adults don't require hard to get weapons. Knives and baseball bats are extremely effective against unarmed victims.

as usual (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539104)

As usual the politicians are proven wrong and backwards with their attempts at 'curbing violence' by fighting this battle against the imaginary violence in games.

As usual, it is shown that whatever politicians wanted to do was going to have the exact opposite effect, so when they fight imaginary violence in video-games, they would be causing more of the real violence in real world, because now it is shown that violent videogames reduce violence in real world.

Whenever you are in doubt about what the outcome of any law, any bill is going to be in real life, just take the name of that bill and reverse it in terms of its intentions.

So if they want to 'fight poverty', it means they'll create more poverty. If they want to 'fight violence', they will end up creating more violence, etc.

Re:as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539176)

I hope the politicians will "fight wealth" next!

Re:as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539206)

Same goes for 'war': War On Drugs and War On Terror have only increased both.

Also as usual (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539246)

A group swallows research that favors its view whole without questioning while disregarding any research that disagrees with its world view.

My my, did you even read the article or just went "I like this headline, therefor I will accept it as being true".

Don't blame your opponents for swallowing their headlines if you do the same.

They aren't trying to curb violence. (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539476)

If they were trying to curb violence there would be a war on violence rather than a war on drugs. There are plenty of murderers who get away with it, there is plenty of violence in society. But when you see most cops do you see them investigating homicides?

As always (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539136)

Correlation is not causation. Right, guys?

Re:As always (1)

zrbyte (1666979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539158)

Well yeah. [xkcd.com] "Correlation doesn't imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing: 'look over there'."

Re:As always (2)

thelamecamel (561865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539338)

Sure, but lack of correlation, or indeed anticorrelation as is the case here, refutes causation. If a implies (causes) b, and b is true, then that says nothing about whether a is true. However, if a implies b, and b is false, then a must be false.

Of course there are many other factors at play in these crime rates - and I wouldn't 'credit' violent games with reducing crime levels, but this does provide a useful argument against the idea that violent video games cause violent behaviour.

Re:As always (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539818)

This is not true. Lack of correlation only refutes causation if you can eliminate all other variables. Just because you are unable to observe an effect does not prove that the effect does not exist. The lack of observed correlation between a and b could be due to some unobserved hidden variable.

Panem et circenses... (3, Interesting)

mauhiz (1751522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539144)

Caesar had it all right, with the violent circus games.
We can now achieve this catharsis without spilling blood, thanks to video games!

This is not good news for gamers (1)

Liambp (1565081) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539166)

A lot of the science of the paper is above me but my reading of it is that the research strongly supports the idea that violent games increase violent tendencies but it's just that if a criminal spends all day playing Modern Warfare he won't have time to go robbing banks.

In Fox News terms we are creating a nation of violent psychopaths but as long as they don't come out of Mom's basement we should be OK.

Re:This is not good news for gamers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539212)

It is not just that.

Aggression is like a pressure valve. Periodically, it needs to be let out. When you are mad, you just want to beat up/abuse some one. You may regret it later, but at that moment, this is what will help you calm down. Once you calm down, the tendency to abuse/beat up will go away.

Video games provide an alternate mechanism to release that pressure valve without being abusive to a fellow human. Consequently, someone playing videogames should be less abusive than someone who is not.

Re:This is not good news for gamers (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539420)

You could be right. You could also be wrong. You see, the difference between your comments and this study is that a group of researchers took the time to develop and conduct a study that examined particular aspects of human behaviour. Your comments are based upon what you think is true about the world, but you didn't take the time to do the research to affirm or disprove your own theory. Of course, that doesn't mean that you're wrong. It simply means that you cannot prove that you are correct.

Re:This is not good news for gamers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539456)

It is not just that.

Aggression is like a pressure valve. Periodically, it needs to be let out. When you are mad, you just want to beat up/abuse some one. You may regret it later, but at that moment, this is what will help you calm down. Once you calm down, the tendency to abuse/beat up will go away.

Video games provide an alternate mechanism to release that pressure valve without being abusive to a fellow human. Consequently, someone playing videogames should be less abusive than someone who is not.

That's actually not how it works. Angrily "letting off steam" occasionally just serves to building up steam. One should instead practice calming down without outbursts of violence, possibly with professional guidance. Or so I've heard, I think.

seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539242)

Jeana

Whoa, never thought of that way ever since or maybe this has something to do with relieving from stress. Well I feel happy whenever I defeated the boss and level up my character. :) buy aion accounts [buycheapaionaccounts.com]

Clockwork Orange (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539280)

It sounds like Clockwork Orange psychology.

You are not violent if you are vomiting all the time so you cannot fight back.

The more probable reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539392)

The reduction of crime is highly correlated with the legalization of abortions (however unpleasant that sounds) and there has been research showing that this is the biggest contributing factor to crime reduction [http://www.freakonomics.com/2005/05/15/abortion-and-crime-who-should-you-believe/]

ORLY? (-1, Redundant)

Dee Ann_1 (1731324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539620)

BULLSHIT.....

Child Pornography (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539652)

Wouldn't this be an argument for not going after people for simply watching child pornography? Obviously arrest those who produce it, but I've always felt those who simply downloaded files and watched it aren't doing anyone any harm.

Abortion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539664)

As a few documentaries have pointed out, the reason crime rates are really falling, at least the larger % reason why is abortion, Roe v. Wade, Those 'unwanted children' never born are not there to growup unloved and commit crimes... Now if we can just extend it retro-actively to existing criminals...

Pac-Man caused me to lose weight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36539912)

Since I was gobbling all day on the screen it suppressed the urge to voraciously feed all day long. Plus the bright yellow may the basement a lot more tolerable.

Kids playing MW2 not causing trouble. (1)

xmorg (718633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539914)

The last big thanksgiving we had was very quiet. Usually, some kid will break a bone, or come in crying because someone got hit, etc. Now they are all playing modern warfare in their room in front of a TV. Although its peaceful, its kind of eerie.

Re:Kids playing MW2 not causing trouble. (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 3 years ago | (#36539938)

as a father and former child... kids playing and violent crime are worlds apart. Unless every thanksgiving the kids went out and gang-raped a neighour a beat the daylights out of a [insert racial epithet of choice]. I think the 'kids less active due to video games' is a different topic all together.

Fairly lame article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36540064)

Just a bunch of guesses based on things that they like that have changed. Most notably NOT included is the fact that Concealed Carry permits and handgun ownership is way up... Just as likely to have an impact as any of the other things, but not "academically acceptable" to be included...

Masters of the Obvious. (2)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540460)

Of COURSE there has been a reduction in violent crime in the last few years, and it's rather obvious why. Seems someone forgot to take into account the change in the crime "landscape" that the internet brings to the table. Violent games is unlikely the only factor here, or even the main one.

Who the hell robs a gas station or liquor store anymore when you can sit at home and search for credit card numbers and CVV2 codes with Google? Like credit card companies actually dedicate real time and effort investigating credit card theft? Please. They wipe your bill clean, issue a new credit card, and write off the loss, and the thief hardly lifted their hands off a keyboard.

Who the hell steals CDs from a music store anymore when you can torrent the music in less time that it takes to put your shoes on to go rob said music store?

Bitcoin mining? Another shining example of how "theft" has changed from armed robbery to mouse clicks and CPU cycles.

On top of all that, never underestimate the power of pure laziness. We have an entire up-and-coming generation unfortunately "representing" that.

Idle Hands are the Devil's Tools (3, Insightful)

SoTerrified (660807) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540888)

Something my grandfather knew and my great-grandfather... Many crimes are crimes of opportunity, usually linked to boredom. There have long been clear statistics that kids who play sports, play an instrument, or have dedication to a hobby are far less likely to be involved in crime. If someone is playing video games... They're not bored, and they're not out finding crimes of opportunity. Keep kids busy and they stay out of trouble.

Thank the concealed carry gun laws (1)

charles05663 (675485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540892)

I truly believe that the concealed carry gun laws are to thank and more people defending themselves. Criminals now fear being shot by armed citizens. It shows that Brady Campaign is wrong. If it were the video games, then crime would be falling in Europe and the world too.

Concept used in fiction and other contexts (2)

DutchUncle (826473) | more than 3 years ago | (#36540904)

I think it was Alan Dean Foster's "Quozl" in which the traveling aliens have ultra-realistic game setups (not quite a holodeck) in which they can hunt and messily kill their prey from back home. Without that opportunity to drain the aggression from their systems, they know they would turn on each other as easily as on outsiders. Cesar Milan, "The Dog Whisperer", often talks about making sure one uses up a pet's energy for similar reasons. Why should anyone be surprised that humans have the same problem - especially humans who aren't satisfied with just sitting and reading /.?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>