On lower crime, not so fast

One of the interesting debates in the Democratic primary that needs a thorough post-mortem is the issue of crime. It came up when somehow Sanders was able to attack Hillary Clinton for Bill Clinton’s crime bill—which she couldn’t vote for but Sanders did vote for—and has been a theme for a while. We hear about “mass incarceration” and “militarization of the police” among other things.

This debate has always struck me as a sure way to give the Republican Party a lifeboat when they should be thrown an anchor. While it’s true that crime has declined since 1993, no one is really sure why. This interview today talks more about culture and dismisses the abortion and lead theories. This means that letting lots of people out of jail, especially violent offenders, and worrying too much about “militarizing” the police should lead to a rise in crime rates. There are already some incipient evidence that crime rates are going up in response to taking our foot of the gas on crime.

It sure sounds to me like a classic case of “if ain’t broke don’t fix it.”