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Crime Reduction Linked To Lead-Free Gasoline

kdawson posted about 7 years ago | from the getting-the-lead-out dept.

Biotech 616

Hugh Pickens writes "Even low levels of lead can cause brain damage, increasing the likelihood of behavioral and cognitive traits such as impulsivity, aggressiveness, and low IQ that are strongly linked with criminal behavior. The NYTimes has a story on how the phasing out of leaded gasoline starting with the Clean Air Act in 1973 may have led to a 56% drop in violent crime in the US in the 1990s. An economics professor at Amherst College, Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, discovered the connection and wrote a paper comparing the reduction of lead from gasoline between states (PDF) and the reduction of violent crime. She constructed a table linking crime rates in every state to childhood lead exposure in that state 20 or 30 years earlier. If lead poisoning is a factor in the development of criminal behavior, then countries that didn't switch to unleaded fuel until the 1980s, like Britain and Australia, should soon see a dip in crime as the last lead-damaged children outgrow their most violent years."

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SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089079)

.| |
crime reduction linked to goatse []

Re:SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089689)

Fucking neocon propaganda...wait a minute, this isn't DIGG!

Lead (5, Interesting)

jcicora (949398) | about 7 years ago | (#21089083)

So does this mean with all the lead paint we are seeing in toys now, we will see another spike in violent behavior.

Re:Lead (5, Funny)

Surt (22457) | about 7 years ago | (#21089443)

Yes, that's exactly what this means, and that's exactly why they did it. If you don't believe the chinese government arranged this purposefully, well, maybe you've had too much lead exposure.

Re:Lead (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089481)

I think you need to be exposed to actual lead, not just xenophobic media hysteria about lead.

Re:Lead (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089637)

Says a person who clearly uses solder as chewing gum.

Prison Population (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089093)

It couldn't be related to the fact that we have more criminals than ever cooling their heels in prison?

Re:Prison Population (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | about 7 years ago | (#21089301)

"It couldn't be related to the fact that we have more criminals than ever cooling their heels in prison?"

TFA says that _violent_ crime is down. If there are fewer violent offenders, then how does that explain why the prisons are overfilled? The prison population exploded because we're putting more _nonviolent_ offenders in jail.

Bad troll, no cookie. Try better next time.


Re:Prison Population (4, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | about 7 years ago | (#21089469)

Perhaps I can shed some light on your prison population conundrum. From [] ::

The total number of marijuana arrests far exceeds the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Since 1992, approximately six million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges, a greater number than the entire populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming combined. Annual marijuana arrests have more than doubled in that time.

McStats: Funny, not Biotech! (4, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | about 7 years ago | (#21089409)

These statistical correlations are a complete crock. There are a million things that have changed over the last few years that could also be attributed.

Personally, I think the most likely cause is one of:

* Reduction in the use of slide rules. With calculators it's easier to get a job as a clerk.

* Increase in CPU speed. Too much time playing games == less time being bad.

* Global warming. It's getting too hot to commit crime.

Re:McStats: Funny, not Biotech! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089465)

I started masturbating sometime in the early 90's; could it be that my act of self love has a telepathic effect on the criminal mind?

Re:McStats: Funny, not Biotech! (4, Insightful)

feed_me_cereal (452042) | about 7 years ago | (#21089631)

except that they found a much better correlation than any of these that they considered interesting. They didn't say "hey! no more lead in gasoline and crime went down. Yippeee!" as you're making it out to be. If you don't believe me, try to publish your CPU speed theory. Much of science boils down to the careful study of correlation.

If you want to bash their study, fine, but at least RTFP, not just the summary on slashdot.

What else happened in 1973? (5, Interesting)

spun (1352) | about 7 years ago | (#21089731)

Roe v. Wade. Reduction in unwanted kids results in less criminals. More abortions for all!

Re:What else happened in 1973? (3, Funny)

baldass_newbie (136609) | about 7 years ago | (#21089775)

Bingo. Irresponsible people no longer had to live with their mistakes (nor did the rest of us.)
It's also why there are fewer Democrats registering every year. At least Cornell keeps churning them out.

Your mom is a complete crock (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 7 years ago | (#21089733)

These statistical correlations are fact. The conclusions might not be, but given the local variations in lead reduction and corresponding reduction in violent crime she makes a much better case than you.

There is a difference between cynicism and skepticism.

So thats why they're (2, Funny)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | about 7 years ago | (#21089095)

painting my kids toys with lead based paint!

Further reduction (2, Funny)

suso (153703) | about 7 years ago | (#21089103)

Wow, imagine the reduction if we got rid of gasoline altogether.

(Note to slashdotters, I'm joking)

Re:Further reduction (1)

arivanov (12034) | about 7 years ago | (#21089611)

My point exactly. The USA has always been way more into gasguzzling even in those days. So even if this reasearch is correct the effects are bound to be less pronounced elsewhere. At the same time this probably explains the crime levels in Mexico city...

correlation, causation and all that? (4, Insightful)

haluness (219661) | about 7 years ago | (#21089115)

Interesting - but couldn't this be a correlation != causation issue? Also it seems to imply that violent or criminal behavior is due to organic brain damage. Is that a given?

Of course I haven't read the paper

ARRRR! (4, Insightful)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 7 years ago | (#21089227)

Interesting - but couldn't this be a correlation != causation issue? Also it seems to imply that violent or criminal behavior is due to organic brain damage. Is that a given?

Of course I haven't read the paper
In another famous study, the decrease in number of pirates has been linked to global warming...

Re:ARRRR! (3, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#21089337)

Actually piracy has been on the increase since the end of the cold war.
That has been attributed to the increase in shipping and the decrease in patrols by the US, UK and the USSR.

Re:ARRRR! (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 7 years ago | (#21089381)

Actually piracy has been on the increase since the end of the cold war.
That has been attributed to the increase in shipping and the decrease in patrols by the US, UK and the USSR.
Well, that's good news, then! I guess I can stop worrying about the polar ice caps...

(And anyway, the Pirates/Global Temperature correlation doesn't really bear the weight of too much scrutiny...)

Re:ARRRR! (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#21089533)

"(And anyway, the Pirates/Global Temperature correlation doesn't really bear the weight of too much scrutiny...)"

Of course the more interesting correlation is a group that prides themselves on being enlightened and rational above all else, like the fans of the FSM would be so out of touch that they didn't know that there where still pirates on the high seas and that it is a real problem for shipping.

Re:ARRRR! (5, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 7 years ago | (#21089783)

"(And anyway, the Pirates/Global Temperature correlation doesn't really bear the weight of too much scrutiny...)"

Of course the more interesting correlation is a group that prides themselves on being enlightened and rational above all else, like the fans of the FSM would be so out of touch that they didn't know that there where still pirates on the high seas and that it is a real problem for shipping.
It's actually just a problem with their survey method. They used to do a catch-release system to estimate the number of pirates, and identify them by markings on their earrings, patches, hooks, peglegs, etc. They also used a certain set of criteria (apart from the basic one of piracy) to identify pirates, and as the surveys have continued through the years they've failed to update their processes and criteria for changes in pirate fashions. (Basically, that pirates have come to favor other beverages apart from rum, the gradual improvements in prosthetics and the improvements in naval safety and changes in naval warfare which have reduced the incidence of dismemberment among pirates... the drastic changes in pirate lingo and their favored methods of doing business...)

As a result, the most recent surveys only turned up a very small number of pirates: Captain Hook (who hasn't aged for a considerable period of time), the Dread Pirate Roberts (whose centuries-long career defies all explanation - the survey teams are still trying to find an explanation), and a handful of others...

Of course, the disciples of the FSM have not overlooked these new facts. For a while, there has been a certain amount of doubt as to whether the results of this study really indicated that a decline in the number of pirates was the cause of global warming. Some said there could be other explanations, while others insisted that the whole situation merited further study and that it was too soon to draw any conclusions at all. Now, though, I think we can safely say, with a moderate level of cautious near-certainty, that the decline of piracy might not actually be entirely responsible for the increase in global temperature. There may be other factors, too.

Re:correlation, causation and all that? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089273)

It could be - but the author provides a method to obtain supporting evidence for causation. If crime rates decrease as predicted in areas that banned leaded gasoline in the 1980s, then that gives evidence that the relationship is causal. It's a valid hypothesis.

Re:correlation, causation and all that? (2, Interesting)

realthing02 (1084767) | about 7 years ago | (#21089275)

Good points, but I'm interested in the prediction about Britain's crime rates. If they do also drop that'd be pretty striking, even if it is just a correlation.

Of course, we'll also have to weigh in the effect on predicting the future and it's impact changing it's outcomes, which is still a relatively young science...

Re:correlation, causation and all that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089333)

This would be more of a coincidence rather than correlation.

Simply put - lead reduction is caused by people trying to avoid lead being in stuff. About the only way this could be a from something other than coincidence or causality would be if the attempts to reduce lead in things caused people to be so distracted they didn't bother committing crime.

"dude! I'll rob best buy tomorrow, I have to go to this lead reduction rally on the state house lawn tonight"
"Bah, I'll steal dinner for my kids tomorrow, I need to write letters to these manufacturers to get them to stop using lead!"

Re:correlation, causation and all that? (1)

king-manic (409855) | about 7 years ago | (#21089387)

correlation != causation

By the same token, Correlation => some sort of relationship most of the time. It could be coincidence, it could be a general trend in legislation, could be random coincidence.

"How to Use (And Misuse) Statistics" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089479) []

Written by my favorite Psych professor but so good that it used to be required reading in Statistics classes.

Some of the examples used to hammer home that correlation != causation make it entertaining to read.

Re:correlation, causation and all that? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 years ago | (#21089633)

Interesting - but couldn't this be a correlation != causation issue? Also it seems to imply that violent or criminal behavior is due to organic brain damage. Is that a given?

Correlation can be causation. Take smoking. Any "reasonable" person would suppose that smoking is bad for you. However, since you think it's bad, you can't test whether it is. The best you can do is look and see the correlation between smokers and lung cancer. No study has ever "proven" that smoking causes lung cancer. For all they know, putting a roll of paper in your mouth and breathing through it could be what caused cancer, and not all the known carcinogens in the smoke that was inhaled. I realize that doesn't make sense as an arguement, but it's pointing out that correlation can mean causation. In this case, if properly done and with a strong enough correlation, it would "prove" that lead causes violence no less than the studies that show smoking causes cancer.

And why does violent behavior have to be caused by organic brain damage? Stating it that way implies that it is a major cause. With lead mostly eliminated, there is still more than enough violence. That would indicate that there are other causes of violence. It may just so happen that a particular type of brain damage caused by long-term exposure to low levels of lead leads to increased violence, but that doesn't brain damage the cause of all violence.

Re:correlation, causation and all that? (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | about 7 years ago | (#21089757)

And on the flip side, the observed correlation could simply be a result of the improved socioeconomic climate of the past few decades, spurred on by the advent of video games, the improvement of people's income, and other stress-relievers.

Thats it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089127)

No more heavy metal on your ipods!

What else has changed in the last 30 years? (1)

example42 (760044) | about 7 years ago | (#21089137)

This smacks of the same great scientific thinking as "Decrease in Pirates Cause Global Warming." There are so many other factors that would show a similar upward/downward trend as crime over such a long time period. For example, a decrease in the quality of writing in Simpsons episodes has matched a decrease in the violent crime rate.

Re:What else has changed in the last 30 years? (1)

king-manic (409855) | about 7 years ago | (#21089437)

This smacks of the same great scientific thinking as "Decrease in Pirates Cause Global Warming."

Piracy has gone up. Temperatures still rising. That Correlation is not that strong. Correlation != Causation; Correlation != for all cases no relationship.

Re:What else has changed in the last 30 years? (1)

arivanov (12034) | about 7 years ago | (#21089649)

Correlation != for all cases no relationship.

To be most exact the actual mathematical definition IIRC is the probability that two variables are related by a _LINEAR_ dependency. So for non-linear...

That's funny... (5, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | about 7 years ago | (#21089143)

...Freakonomics correlated the drop in crime rates with the legalization of abortion. Which sounds more sound of a theory to you?

Re:That's funny... (2, Funny)

mc moss (1163007) | about 7 years ago | (#21089229)

Sometimes I wish slashdot allowed you to post pics on the comments section. Then I can directly post that graph that shows a correlation between a decrease in the pirate population and an increase in global warming.

Re:That's funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089531)

Why not post the link? Then those of us brave enough to venture into what could be goatse are free to see what you're talking about.

Re:That's funny... (3, Funny)

Raul654 (453029) | about 7 years ago | (#21089641)

The graph he refers to is here []

RTFP! (5, Informative)

ctid (449118) | about 7 years ago | (#21089293)

Levitt's book is cited in the first paragraph of the paper, which is very interesting, but rather hard to understand on a (very) brief reading. Essentially, she says that lead contributes 56% to the drop in crime, while the availability of abortions contributes 29%.

Re:That's funny... (1)

DJ Jones (997846) | about 7 years ago | (#21089359)

This immediately reminded me of Steven Levitt's theory, as well. Both theories are probably equally correct. What's important to note, is that a drop in crime is not historical correlated to increased police spending or political movements.

Think outside the cube.

Re:That's funny... (1)

flux pinner (1170311) | about 7 years ago | (#21089613)

IIRC (can't find the study right now...sorry), one of the concerns about the Freakonomics study was that it didn't work across the pond, i.e. the same abortion legalization/crime drop correlation was not seen in Great Britain and other western European countries. It would be interesting if the authors of this study would do a similar analysis with their lead paint/crime drop correlation.

Re:That's funny... (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 7 years ago | (#21089671)

Possibly because teaching birth control methods in the schools is not taboo in Britain and Europe, so there are fewer unplanned pregnancies? I can't back that up, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's true.

Re:That's funny... (1)

yfkar (866011) | about 7 years ago | (#21089751)

Well, at least there won't be as much illegal abortions if they are legalized, and thus crime rates drop.

Come to think of it, we could get rid of crime once and for all by legalizing everything. ;)

Other possible causes? (2, Interesting)

torchdragon (816357) | about 7 years ago | (#21089151)

Disclaimer: I seriously don't want to start a flamewar or anything, please keep it civil.

The legalization of abortion also occurred in a similar time frame and also has been attributed to a large statistical decrease in violent crime. []

Are both studies wrong? One study? More bending of statistics to make up for science? Anyone specifically in the know?

Re:Other possible causes? (2, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | about 7 years ago | (#21089219)

In the end, anything that lowers the amount of kids in the street that have health and mental problems and/or are not wanted and/or are bored (thats a big one) and/or have crappy parents, will reduce crime significantly. So I'm guessing all these things are simply indirect.

Re:Other possible causes? (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 7 years ago | (#21089307)

>> Disclaimer: I seriously don't want to start a flamewar or anything

On the internet? You're joking, right?

Re:Other possible causes? (2, Insightful)

Billosaur (927319) | about 7 years ago | (#21089383)

Scientific research is being abused even more in this sensationalist age. Listen, experimental design is simple, really, and therein lies the problem. It's easy enough to come up with a study, run on a limited population, at a level of probability just under then better-than-random threshold that will prove your pet theory. The number of factors involved in the commission of crimes (violent or otherwise) are so diverse, that to attribute it to one factor is absurd. Could it be an increase in law enforcement? Perhaps an increase in affluence in certain areas and/or reduction in poverty? Could it be the increased vigilance of people in general?

I find it very hard to believe that this study could have controls tight enough to take into account all the other factors involved in crime. I'm sure there are enough other things out there that correlate positively/negatively with the reduction in lead in gasoline that you could use this study to prove anything you like.

Re:Other possible causes? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | about 7 years ago | (#21089647)

Are both studies wrong? One study?

Did you just accidentally leave the most obvious answer, "both", out of the list of options? Or do you really believe that there can be one and only one explanation for the reduction in crime rates?

Re:Other possible causes? (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | about 7 years ago | (#21089663)

Here's a crazy thought. You know what all of these trends have in common? They are tied to a general increase in liberal thought in America. Allowing abortions (personal freedom), forbidding lead additives (corporate regulation). So maybe it's other liberal policies that have helped with the decrease in violent crime.

Here's a clever idea (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#21089699)

maybe BOTH are factors?

I know, Crazy idea that something might not be 1 or the other, but a little of both.

I summary I say: Terrorist use bombs. Bombs came about bacause of science, therefor scientist are terrorist;which is why the bush administration has no need to use science.

Re:Other possible causes? (1)

JDAustin (468180) | about 7 years ago | (#21089735)

The other thing pointed out in Freakonomics is that in states where abortion was legalized sooner (in the late 60's in CA or New York iirc) that the corresponding crime drop happend sooner (ie the late 80's vs early 90's).

What this study is is just a researcher with a goal and mis-interpreting statistics to meet that goal. The goal in this case is that the removal of lead from gasoline which was done for enviromental reasons (albeit necessary) directly resulted in decreased crime now. So now that the study is out there, the enviromental-facists will use it as a tool, ie saying that more enviromental regulation now on something as natuallry occuraing as CO2 will result in less crime for the next generation.

Not Roe vs. Wade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089171)

Correlation obviously is not proof. The Freakonomics folks attributed the drop in crime to Roe vs. Wade, based on the same kind of correlation.

Reminds me of a Simpsons episode. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089177)

Dr. Spirograph: Wait: did you know that there's a direct correlation between the decline of Spirograph and the rise in gang activity? Think about it.

Bart: I will.

Dr. Spirograph: No you won't.

Yet again it bears repeating... (-1, Redundant)

robkill (259732) | about 7 years ago | (#21089183)

Correlation does not imply causation. While the correlation may be very strong, causation cannot be assumed without ruling out many other potential contributing factors.

Re:Yet again it bears repeating... (1)

Carthag (643047) | about 7 years ago | (#21089263)

Well now there's a theory that can be disproven if crime does not decrease in coutries with later date lead regulation. It sounds a bit farfetched as stated in the summary, but I can imagine lead as one of many many factors that cause a person to become likely to commit a crime.

Re:Yet again it bears repeating... (1)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | about 7 years ago | (#21089349)

Correlation does not imply causation.

Correlation very much implies causation. It does not, however, prove causation. At least get your semantics right...

Re:Yet again it bears repeating... (2, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | about 7 years ago | (#21089513)

It only implies causation for those with a pretty poor understanding of one of:
the word imply.

On related news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089189)

Global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are correlated to the shrinking numbers of pirates [] since the 1800s.


What about the middle east? (1)

kcredden (1007529) | about 7 years ago | (#21089195)

I seemed to remember something I read awile back, that one thing that middle-eastern mothers (I'm assuming like Iraq and such) put some sort of face paint on their children's faces. It was shown to contain very high levels of lead. I can't confirm or deny this since I can't remember where I saw it, but maybe there's something to that, and they're violence levels?

- Kc

Re:What about the middle east? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#21089405)

A quick google turned up this [] . Seems a teething remedy called farouk is commonly used in the middle east and contains lead. This could be what you're referring to.

Re:What about the middle east? (1)

kcredden (1007529) | about 7 years ago | (#21089535)

Ye gods, not only the middle east, but all over and the lead levels is incredible in some of that stuff.

Could most of the violence in the world be THIS simple? It would be incredible wouldn't it?

- Kc

Ummm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089211)

I thought I remember reading in Freakonomics that that drop was associated strongly with a rise in Abortions, not in lead gasoline. Could be a combination of both though, or it could be that everyone has now noticed that there is an association between crime drop now and stuff that happened during the 70's, with researchers jumping on the bandwagon to find the smoking gun. Either way, good thing I was born in the 80's.

Saw the Same Thing With Abortion (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 7 years ago | (#21089217)

Saw the same thing with abortion inversely linked to crime [] [PDF Warning]:

We offer evidence that legalized abortion has contributed significantly to recent crime reductions. Crime began to fall roughly 18 years after abortion legalization. The 5 states that allowed abortion in 1970 experienced declines earlier than the rest of the nation, which legalized in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. States with high abortion rates in the 1970s and 1980s experienced greater crime reductions in the 1990s. In high abortion states, only arrests of those born after abortion legalization fall relative to low abortion states. Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime.
I saw those researchers talking about that on the Daily show once (or someone who wrote a book about it). No doubt, people will be more open to the lead paint idea than the abortion idea. Not because the data is any better or different but more so because religious beliefs are tied to abortion.

I'd like to know if forcing your beliefs on other people is worth twice as much crime? Is making cheaper, more effective paint worth twice as much crime? Personally I'd say no to both of those but I'm sure half the country disagrees with me on the first point.

Re:Saw the Same Thing With Abortion (2, Interesting)

operagost (62405) | about 7 years ago | (#21089475)

I'd like to know if forcing your beliefs on other people is worth twice as much crime?
Pro-lifers believe that abortion is murder, and therefore a crime, so the answer in this case would be yes. There are alternatives to abortion, so your premise may be a false dilemma. How many offenders come from single parent homes? Foster homes? Adoptive two-parent homes?

Re:Saw the Same Thing With Abortion (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | about 7 years ago | (#21089609)

How about how many offenders come from low, medium, and high-income families? Income is a huge discriminator in picking who will and won't commit crimes.

Knife slices both ways (1, Troll)

everphilski (877346) | about 7 years ago | (#21089499)

I'd like to know if forcing your beliefs on other people is worth twice as much crime? Is making cheaper, more effective paint worth twice as much crime?

You mention that abortion might be linked to a lowering in crime. I'd like to mention another fact, that abortion is a proven risk factor in breast cancer [] .

Irrelevant, you may say, but it is another instance of 'forcing beliefs', but from the other side of the coin:

The American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation continue to deny the link between induced abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer. They make no effort to publicize (or they wholly ignore) the increased risk of breast cancer associated with oral contraceptive use. link [] .

Many of these groups are promoting their own beliefs that an abortion is an important right over the free flow of information (and oral contraceptives), letting women know that it increases their risk factor for the second most fatal form of cancer, according to the ACS. The knife slices both ways, and people die in both cases.

Re:Knife slices both ways (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089599)

You link a piece entitled 'Commentary' and a piece against oral contraceptive use from The National Catholic Register?!

Please, is this some sort of hilarious joke? At least link the 'research papers' as they certainly must be up for review or published somewhere!

Wasn't removal of lead that caused the reduction (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089265)

It was addition of the G-23 paxilon hydrochlorate that the feds required be added to the gasoline.

We just haven't seen the uptick in cannibalism yet.

Maybe in another few decades... (3, Interesting)

feelbad_feelsgood (809633) | about 7 years ago | (#21089267)

... the crime wave will recede from Eastern US cities like Baltimore, where every single property in the entire city was painted with lead [] right up until the ban in 1978. Thing is, lead paint was used because of its durability, so there is no guarantee that these cities are even in the downward part of the curve yet, as the paint may just now be starting to chip and find its way into children's lungs/guts.

Re:Maybe in another few decades... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#21089501)

Lead paint is only a problem if people eat it. Not a lot of people licking building, or so I assume.

Lead in the air is breathed, obviously.

While both are bad, the lead in the air has a more dramatic effect then the lead on the buildings.

socail darwinism. (1)

Truekaiser (724672) | about 7 years ago | (#21089277)

and low IQ that are strongly linked with criminal behavior.
thats social darwinism and it has been proved false time and again.

Re:socail darwinism. (1)

realthing02 (1084767) | about 7 years ago | (#21089377)

I'm not trying to flame, i just want to know the proof behind your statements. It seems like it'd be an interesting study.

I thought it was a decrease in bellbottom pants (1)

tinrobot (314936) | about 7 years ago | (#21089281)

The incidence of bellbottoms fell off precipitously in the late 1970s as well.

Re:I thought it was a decrease in bellbottom pants (1)

hasbeard (982620) | about 7 years ago | (#21089643)

Yes, that was another positive thing in my opinion :)

Lead free gasoline? (1)

chiefnerd (823986) | about 7 years ago | (#21089291)

My understanding is that "unleaded" gasoline is not lead free; rather it has a lower lead content than "leaded" gasoline. Can anyone confirm/deny this?

Re:Lead free gasoline? (3, Informative)

bmwm3nut (556681) | about 7 years ago | (#21089487)

I can neither confirm nor deny that. But from what I do know, I say it's a very high probability that there at least is no lead added to new gasoline. When you add lead to gasoline, you are really adding tetraethylead (you can go to an automotive store and buy it). It does two important things 1) increases octane and 2) lubricates the fuel system. From what I know about cars, engines designed for unleaded gasoline are much different than leaded. Especially around the time of the switch over. For one, the compression of the engines is significantly different: Leaded gasoline engines were pushing 12:1 or 14:1 compression ratios, for unleaded, even today you don't see much above 9:1. So that means, at least there isn't enough lead in today's gasoline to increase the octane enough to have a high compression engine. Likewise, the valve seats and such are much different in unleaded engines because of the lack of lubricity in the fuel (and hence exhaust) now. I'd feel pretty confident saying that the amount of lean in fuel, if any, is orders of magnitude less than in leaded gasoline, and is negligible.

Re:Lead free gasoline? (1)

caldodge (1152) | about 7 years ago | (#21089715)

> for unleaded, even today you don't see much above 9:1

Uhhh ... like my wife's Honda Fit (not exactly a sports car), which sports a 10.4:1 compression ratio?

Re:Lead free gasoline? (1)

dloyer (547728) | about 7 years ago | (#21089539)

I think you are thinking of 100LL (100 octane, low lead) that is used in aviation. (Avgas)

It has lead and plenty of it, but less than an older standard. Most aviation airplanes dont need it and would run just was well on premium gas that does not include ethanol. A few, high compression aircraft engines need it and cant run on anything else, so it is still around.

Ethanol is a problem because it will evaporate at high alt and cause a vapor lock, preventing fuel flow to the engine and loss of power. So the airplane becomes a glider.

Piston aircraft are certified to run on avgas and are not allowed to run on anything else without a big deal. Finding a cost effective substitute that works for everything has eluded the industry for years.

Couldn't we just pick any event from 1973? (0, Offtopic)

Picass0 (147474) | about 7 years ago | (#21089339)

Maybe it's not lead free gas. Many other events took place in 1973. It could be any of these things (or none of them)would be equally responsible for a drop in violent crime:

January 3 - CBS sells the New York Yankees for $10 million to a 12-person syndicate led by George Steinbrenner.
January 14 - Elvis Presley does a concert in Hawaii for over a billion people live worldwide.
January 22 - Former United States President Lyndon B. Johnson dies in San Antonio, Texas.
January 22 - Roe v. Wade: The U.S. Supreme Court overturns state bans on abortion.
January 27 - U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ends with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.
February 11 - Toronto: Construction on the CN Tower begins.
February 11 - Vietnam War: The first release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam takes place.
February 12 - Ohio becomes the first U.S. state to post distance in metric on signs. (See: Metric system in the United States).
February 13 - The United States Dollar was devalued by 10%.
February 16 - The Court of Appeal of England and Wales ruled that the Sunday Times could publish articles on Thalidomide and Distillers Company, despite ongoing legal actions by parents (the decision was overturned in July by the House of Lords).
February 21 - Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 (Boeing 727) is shot down by Israeli fighter aircraft over the Sinai Desert, after the passenger plane is suspected of being an enemy military plane. Only 5 (1 crew member and 4 passengers) of 113 survive.
February 22 - Sino-American relations: Following President Richard Nixon's visit to mainland China, the United States and the People's Republic of China agree to establish liaison offices.
February 26 - Edward Heath's British government publishes a Green Paper on prices and incomes policy.
February 27 - The American Indian Movement occupies Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
February 28 - Polling day in the Republic of Ireland general election.
March 1 - Dick Taverne, who had resigned from the Parliament of the United Kingdom on leaving the Labour Party, was re-elected as a 'Democratic Labour' candidate.
March 3 - Tottenham Hotspur win the Football League Cup final at Wembley, beating Norwich City 1-0 in the final.
March 7 - Comet Kohoutek is discovered.
March 8 - In the 'Border Poll', voters in Northern Ireland endorse remaining in the United Kingdom. Irish nationalists largely boycotted the referendum.
March 8 - Provisional Irish Republican Army bombs explode in Whitehall and the Old Bailey in England.
March 11 - Sir Richard Sharples, Governor of Bermuda, was assassinated in Government House.
March 17 - Queen Elizabeth II opens the modern London Bridge.
March 17 - Many of the few remaining United States soldiers begin to leave Vietnam. One reunion of a former POW reuniting with his family is immortalized in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph Burst of Joy.
March 17- Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, one of rock's landmark albums, is released.
March 20 - British government White Paper on Northern Ireland proposes re-establishment of an Assembly elected by proportional representation, with a possible All-Ireland council.
March 21 - Lofthouse Colliery disaster in Great Britain.
March 22 - United Kingdom government announces that the Channel Tunnel could be finished by 1980, costing £366m.
March 23 - Watergate scandal (United States): In a letter to Judge John Sirica, Watergate burglar James W. McCord Jr. admits that he and other defendants have been pressured to remain silent about the case. He names Attorney General John Mitchell as 'overall boss' of the operation.
March 29 - The last United States soldier leaves Vietnam.
March 31 - Paramount's Carowinds opens.
April 2 - The LexisNexis computerized legal research service begins.
April 3 - The first handheld cellular phone call made by Martin Cooper, who conceived the phone, in New York City.
April 4 - The World Trade Center officially opens in New York City with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
April 6 - Pioneer 11 is launched on a mission to study the solar system.
April 6 - Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees becomes the first designated hitter in Major League Baseball.
April 7 - Tu te reconnaîtras by Anne-Marie David (music by Claude Morgan, text by Vline Buggy) wins Eurovision Song Contest 1973 for Luxembourg.
April 10 - Israeli commandos raid Beirut, assassinating 3 leaders of the Palestinian Resistance Movement. The Lebanese army's inaction brings the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Saib Salam, a Sunni Muslim.
April 11 - The British House of Commons voted against restoring capital punishment by a margin of 142 votes.
April 12 - The Labour Party wins control of the Greater London Council.
April 17 - The German counter-terrorist force GSG 9 is officially formed.
April 17 - Federal Express officially begins operations, with the launch of 14 small aircraft from Memphis International Airport. On that night, Federal Express delivers 186 packages to 25 U.S. cities from Rochester, NY, to Miami, Fla.
April 20 - An Indian Pacific train en route to Perth, derails near Broken Hill, New South Wales. The train destroyed a quarter mile of track when it left the rails.
April 28 - Six Irishmen, including Joe Cahill, are arrested by the Irish Naval Service off County Waterford on board a coaster carrying five tons of weapons destined for the Provisional Irish Republican Army.
May 1 - An estimated 1,600,000 workers in the United Kingdom stopped work in support of a Trade Union Congress "day of national protest and stoppage" against the Government's anti-inflation policy.
May 3 - The Sears Tower in Chicago is finished, becoming the world's tallest building.
May 5 - Shambu Tamang becomes the youngest person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest.
May 5 - Sunderland AFC defeats Leeds United A.F.C. in the FA Cup final.
May 5 - Secretariat wins the Kentucky Derby.
May 8 - A 71-day standoff between federal authorities and the American Indian Movement who were occupying the Pine Ridge Reservation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, ends with the surrender of the militants.
May 10 - The Polisario Front,a Sahrawi movement dedicated to the independence of Western Sahara, is formed.
May 14 - Skylab, the United States' first space station, is launched.
May 14 - The British House of Commons votes to abolish capital punishment in Northern Ireland.
May 17 - Watergate scandal: Televised hearings begin in the United States Senate.
May 18 - Cod War: Joseph Godber, British Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, announces that Royal Navy frigates will protect British trawlers fishing in the disputed 50-mile limit round Iceland.
May 19 - Secretariat wins the Preakness Stakes.
May 22 - Lord Lambton resigned from the British government over a 'call girl' scandal.
May 22 - Ethernet is invented by Robert Metcalfe.
May 24 - Earl Jellicoe, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords in Britain, resigned over a separate prostitution scandal.
May 25 - Skylab 2 (Pete Conrad, Paul Weitz, Joseph Kerwin) is launched on a mission to repair the Skylab space station.
May 27 - By virtue of the non-retroactivity of Soviet copyright laws, all works published before this date are public domain. This applies worldwide.Confirmation needed
June 1 - The Greek military junta abolishes the monarchy and proclaims a republic.
June 3 - A Tupolev Tu-144 crashes at the Paris air show; 15 are killed.
June 4 - A patent for the ATM is granted to Donald Wetzel, Tom Barnes and George Chastain.
June 9 - Secretariat wins the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing winner since 1948.
June 10 - The grandson of J. Paul Getty is kidnapped in Rome.Confirmation needed
June 16 - U.S. President Richard Nixon begins several talks with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.
June 20 - The Ezeiza massacre occurs in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Snipers shoot on left-wing Peronists, killing at least 13 and injuring more than 300.
June 22 - W. Mark Felt ("Deep Throat") retires from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
June 23 - A house fire in Kingston upon Hull, England, which kills a 6-year-old boy is passed off as an accident; it later emerges as the first of 26 fire deaths caused over the next 7 years by arsonist Peter Dinsdale.
June 24 - Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev addresses the American people on television, the first to do so.
June 25 - Erskine Hamilton Childers is elected the fourth President of Ireland.
June 25 - Watergate scandal: Former White House counsel John Dean begins his testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee.
June 26 - At Plesetsk Cosmodrome, 9 persons are killed in the explosion of a Cosmos 3-M rocket.
June 28 - Elections are held for the Northern Ireland Assembly, which will lead to power-sharing between unionists and nationalists in Northern Ireland for the first time.
June 30 - Very long total solar eclipse. During the entire 2nd millennium, only 7 total solar eclipses exceeded 7 minutes of totality.
July 1 - The United States Drug Enforcement Administration is founded.
July 2 - The United States Congress passes the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA) mandating Special Education federally.
July 5 - The Isle of Man Post begins to issue its own postage stamps.
July 5 - The catastrophic BLEVE (Boiling Liquid Expanding Vapor Explosion) in Kingman, Arizona, following a fire that broke out as propane was being transferred from a railroad car to a storage tank, kills 11 firefighters. This explosion has become a classic incident, studied in fire department training programs worldwide.
July 10 - The Bahamas gain full independence within the Commonwealth of Nations.
July 11 - Varig Flight 820 disaster near Orly, France - 123 killed.
July 12 - 1973 National Archives Fire: A major fire destroys the entire 6th floor of the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
July 16 - Watergate Scandal: Former White House aide Alexander Butterfield informs the United States Senate Watergate Committee that President Richard Nixon had secretly recorded potentially incriminating conversations.
July 17 - King Mohammed Zahir Shah of Afghanistan is deposed by his cousin Mohammed Daoud Khan while in Italy undergoing eye surgery.
July 20 - France resumes nuclear bomb tests in Mururoa Atoll, over the protests of Australia and New Zealand.
July 20 - Actor and martial artist Bruce Lee dies of brain swelling in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong.
July 21 - The Philippines receives its second Miss Universe title, with Margarita Moran as the winner.
July 23 - The Avianca Building in Bogotá, Colombia suffers a serious fire.
July 25 - The Soviet Mars 5 space probe is launched.
July 28 - The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, a massive rock festival featuring The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band and The Band, attracts over 600,000 music fans.
July 28 - Skylab 3 (Owen Garriott, Jack Lousma, Alan Bean) is launched, to conduct various medical and scientific experiments aboard Skylab.
July 29 - Formula One racing driver Roger Williamson dies in an accident, witnessed live on European television, during the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix.
July 30 - An 11-year legal action for the victims of Thalidomide ends.Confirmation needed
July 31 - Militant protesters of Ian Paisley disrupt the first sitting of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
July 31 - A Delta Air Lines Flight 173 DC9-31 aircraft lands short of Boston's Logan Airport runway in poor visibility, striking a sea wall about 165 feet (50 m) to the right of the runway centerline and about 3000 feet (914 m) short. All 6 crew members and 83 passengers are killed, 1 of the passengers dying several months after the accident.
August 2 - A flash fire kills 51 at the Summerland amusement centre at Douglas, Isle of Man.Confirmation needed
August 5 - Black September members open fire at the Athens airport; 3 are killed, 55 injured.
August 8 - South Korean politician Kim Dae-Jung is kidnapped in Tokyo by the KCIA.
August 13 - Houston Mass Murders: 27 boys are killed by 3 men.
August 15 - The U.S. bombing of Cambodia ends, marking the official halt to 12 years of combat activity in Southeast Asia.
August 23 - The Norrmalmstorg robbery occurs, famous for the origin of the term Stockholm syndrome.
September 3 - The British Trade Union Congress expelled 20 members for registering under the Industrial Relations Act 1971.
September 11 - Chile's democratically-elected government is overthrown in a military coup after serious instability. President Salvador Allende commits suicide during the coup in the presidential palace, and General Augusto Pinochet heads a U.S.-backed military junta that will govern Chile for the next 16 years.
September 15 - Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden dies. His grandson, Carl XVI Gustav, becomes king.
September 18 - The two German Republics, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), are admitted to the United Nations.
September 20 - The Battle of the Sexes: Billie Jean King defeats Bobby Riggs in a televised tennis match, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3, at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.
September 22 - Henry Kissinger, United States National Security Advisor, starts his term as United States Secretary of State.
September 27 - Soviet space programme: Launch of Soyuz 12, the first manned flight since 1971.
September 28 - ITT is bombed in New York City by Leftist terrorists protesting the restoration of the Chilean Constitution ordered by the Chilean judicial and legislative branches against the Allende administration.
October 6 - Yom Kippur War: The fourth and largest Arab-Israeli conflict begins, as Egyptian and Syrian forces attack Israeli forces in the Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights on Yom Kippur.
October 10 - Spiro T. Agnew resigns as Vice President of the United States and then, in federal court in Baltimore, Maryland, pleads no contest to charges of income tax evasion on $29,500 he received in 1967, while he was governor of Maryland. He is fined $10,000 and put on 3 years' probation.
October 14 - Student Revolt in Bangkok, Thailand
October 17 - The Arab Oil Embargo against several countries which support Israel triggers the 1973 energy crisis.
October 20 - The Saturday Night Massacre: U.S. President Richard Nixon orders Attorney General Elliot Richardson to dismiss Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Richardson refuses and resigns, along with Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus. Solicitor General Robert Bork, third in line at the Department of Justice, then fires Cox. The event raises calls for Nixon's impeachment.
October 20 - The Sydney Opera House is opened by Elizabeth II after 14 years of construction work.
October 26 - The Yom Kippur War ends.
October 26 - United Nations recognize the independence of Guinea-Bissau.
October 27 - The Canyon City meteorite, a 1.4 kilogram chondrite type meteorite, strikes Earth in Fremont County, Colorado.Confirmation needed
October 30 - The Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey is completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosporus for the first time in history.
November 1: Watergate scandal: Acting Attorney General Robert Bork appoints Leon Jaworski as the new Watergate Special Prosecutor.Confirmation needed
November 3 - Pan Am Flight 160 Boeing 707-321C HAZMAT JFK divert BOS crashed.
November 3 - Mariner program: NASA launches Mariner 10 toward Mercury (on March 29, 1974 it becomes the first space probe to reach that planet).
November 7 - The Congress of the United States overrides President Richard M. Nixon's veto of the War Powers Resolution, which limits presidential power to wage war without congressional approval.
November 11 - Egypt and Israel sign a United States-sponsored cease-fire accord.
November 14 - In the United Kingdom, Princess Anne marries a commoner, Captain Mark Phillips, in Westminster Abbey (they divorce in 1992).
November 16 - Skylab program: NASA launches Skylab 4 (Gerald Carr, William Pogue, Edward Gibson) from Cape Canaveral, Florida on an 84-day mission.
November 16 - U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act into law, authorizing the construction of the Alaska Pipeline.
November 17 - Watergate scandal: In Orlando, Florida, U.S. President Richard Nixon tells 400 Associated Press managing editors "I am not a crook."
November 17 - A student uprising occurs against the military regime in Athens, Greece.
November 21 - U.S. President Richard Nixon's attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt, reveals the existence of an 18½-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.
November 25 - Greek dictator George Papadopoulos is ousted in a military coup led by Lieutenant General Phaidon Gizikis.
November 27 - The United States Senate votes 92-3 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States.
November 29 - More than 100 people perish in a department store fire in Japan.
December - Chile breaks diplomatic contacts with Sweden.Confirmation needed
December 1 - Papua New Guinea gains self government from Australia.
December 3 - Pioneer program: Pioneer 10 sends back the first close-up images of Jupiter.
December 6 - The United States House of Representatives votes 387-35 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States; he is sworn in the same day.
December 15 - Gay rights: The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its DSM-II.
December 23 - OPEC doubles the price of crude oil.Confirmation needed
December 28 - The Endangered Species Act is passed.
December 30 - Terrorist Carlos fails in his attempt to assassinate British businessman Joseph Sieff.Confirmation needed
December 31 - In the United Kingdom, due to coal shortages caused by industrial action, the electricity consumption reduction measure - the Three-Day Week comes into force.

Re:Couldn't we just pick any event from 1973? (1)

benzapp (464105) | about 7 years ago | (#21089575)

This has to be the longest, most pointless post I have read on slashdot in a long while. In case you are unaware, lead exposure is linked with criminal behavior. How does any of the crap you just posted affect criminal behavior? I'm sure as hell not going to read it. Thanks for wasting bandwidth.

Re:Couldn't we just pick any event from 1973? (1)

flux pinner (1170311) | about 7 years ago | (#21089717)

March 11 - Sir Richard Sharples, Governor of Bermuda, was assassinated in Government House. This seems to be related to violent behavior...

Civil Rights Generation (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 7 years ago | (#21089343)

How about decreases in crimes by people who were never born, because their parents could get a legal abortion? And other family planning that made more kids who'd become old enough to commit crimes instead the product of more educated, well adjusted families? Also prenatal care and other health in ghettos.

The Civil Rights Revolution of the 1960s made a generation that came of age in the late 1970s through 1990s (and still coming today) a lot more well adjusted.

Note to self: (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 7 years ago | (#21089361)

Finally, an excuse to start dumping saltpeter [] into fuel tanks..

Impulsivity? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about 7 years ago | (#21089369)

That's an adverb. What you are looking for is impulsiveness.

Crime reduction linked to abortion legalization (1)

ferespo (899921) | about 7 years ago | (#21089435)

This paper [] , explains this relation.

We offer evidence that legalized abortion has contributed significantly to recent crime reductions. Crime began to fall roughly eighteen years after abortion legalization. The five states that allowed abortion in 1970 experienced declines earlier than the rest of the nation, which legalized in 1973 with Roe v. Wade. States with high abortion rates in the 1970s and 1980s experienced greater crime reductions in the 1990s. In high abortion states, only arrests of those born after abortion legalization fall relative to low abortion states. Legalized abortion appears to account for as much as 50 percent of the recent drop in crime.

Or, you can read the book "Freakonomics" for a less technical explanation by the same authors of that paper.

Cool (0, Flamebait)

Anon-Admin (443764) | about 7 years ago | (#21089495)

Lets blame it all on the lead in gas, and the lead in paint.

There is no way the person who did it can be responsible!

Filed under junk science.

Not Junk Science (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 years ago | (#21089635)

No one is saying that they person isn't responsible.
I would rate this science as 'good', not great, or perfect, but certianly needing a closer look.

The effects of lead on people is pretty well know. Based on other studies I have read, I believe it is not implausible that those effect would lead to more violent behavior.

Just bacause a study doesn't agree with your subjective view doesn't mean it's junk.

Gueass what? thousands of factor go in to making a person. children who are abused often grow up to be violent adults. As adults they should be responsible for their action, that doesn't mean their childhood experiences didn't influance who they became.

Scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089519)

I'm going off on a conspiracy tangent, but here's a thought: *if* it was that easy for lead in gasoline to negatively affect people, couldn't it be just as easy for a people in power to make their citizens more docile and peaceful to a fault through other chemicals?

Spin (1)

rlp (11898) | about 7 years ago | (#21089559)

I question the timing. Giuliani is taking credit for the drop in crime in NY during his tenure as mayor (personally I think it was mostly Bratton - the police Commissioner). Guiliani is the leading GOP candidate for President '08. So, the NY Times and publishes a "study" that the drop in crime in the US was due to phasing out lead in gas. How convenient, expect more of this stuff as the '08 campaign heats up.

Self-selected reduction? (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | about 7 years ago | (#21089571)

I know the crime rate is also tied into drug use. I can't help but wonder if, as more addicts die earlier, this can also lead to a lower crime rate.

victims or criminals? (1)

loafula (1080631) | about 7 years ago | (#21089621)

if criminals are criminals because of exposure to lead, doesn't that make them victims themselves? i smell lawsuits! and lookie lookie, we got another reason to slam the oil companies!

The Romans were violent... (1)

Magnesious (1178423) | about 7 years ago | (#21089665)

Maybe this explains why the Romans would invade everyone they could reach.

So angry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#21089667)

All that lead for all those years...makes me want to punch somebody!

Actually, I prefer a different thought on the drop (1)

tacarat (696339) | about 7 years ago | (#21089677)

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, By Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Notice, no link. Not astroturfing this (or am I? Hmmmm...). The books thought on the crime drop was that legalizing abortion helped a lot. I don't remember if it was violent or overall crime, but basically by allowing women that couldn't raise a child properly (unsupportive father, family, community), less kids were raised at risk of becoming criminals.

Of course, I might just like it because the idea would rub certain members of my family the wrong way. I'm bad like that.

Wait! (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 7 years ago | (#21089687)

Does this explain disco music?

Say wha? (3, Informative)

imstanny (722685) | about 7 years ago | (#21089703)

The book Freakanomics makes a good case for crime reduction based on the Roe v Wade - the legalization abortions. The logic goes that majority of kids who are not aborted end up being much more suspetible to crime. Another reason for reduced crime is increased police presence.

Actually it was LEGOS (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 7 years ago | (#21089709)

The drop in crime is actually due to LEGOS; the wonderful mental stimulating plastic brick toys which were launched in their plastic form in 1963. Yes, that is 10 yrs before the noted 1973 statistical start time. However, it took approx. 10 yrs for said toy to fully populate the American market.

Thus, the statistical analysis clearly proves that LEGOS are directly responsible for the current drop in crime.

And why would this be? Because LEGO itself is derived from the term "Play Well". The millions of kids that grow up playing with LEGOS just seem to continue to "play well" even into adulthood.

- Saj

Conscientious Society? (1)

Ren.Tamek (898017) | about 7 years ago | (#21089741)

Perhaps western society has just enjoyed a greater awareness of what exactly is good and bad for the planet and other people over the last 30 years? I mean, when I think of great things that happened in 70's America I'm automatically reminded of black equality, the hippy movement, and the discovery of the extent of the environmental destruction of our planet. The Clean Air Act was just a consequence of this kind of social shift in priorities. Isn't it quite likely that the same people who started these movements have just raised their children to be nicer, more conscientious citizens?
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