Darth Wong wrote:
Could you please explain how "less criminal behaviour" does not equal "better behaved?"
Certainly. Look please at Levitt's top four:
1. More police. This is a deterent factor, not a better behavior factor. Remove the deterent, and if Levitt did his math right, crime will increase.
2. Increased prison population. Criminals are more often behind bars than before, an environment where it is more difficult to behave criminally.
3. Stronger deterents have reduced drug-related criminal behavior. This is also a deterent factor; remove the deterent, and crime will rise.
4. Abortion. Similar in effect to #2.
No doubt this isn't the whole of the picture. But there is no evidence yet produced in this thread to suggest that a primary cause of reduced crime in America is better behaved Americans. It's that simple. That isn't to say that better behaved Americans is a non-factor, but that it isn't a statistically significant one, evidently, at least not so far with the information at hand.
Notice please that anectodal evidence that Americans are not
better behaved than in times past is part of daily urban-American life. Consider, for example, that in suburban Dallas, Texas, kids who aren't met by a recognized adult at a school bus stop simply aren't allowed to get off the bus. This wasn't the case when I was growing up in suburban Chicago, Illinois. Americans certainly live in a land of elevated deterents, large and small, and not necessarily
in a land where they are better behaved than in times past.
Or, to put it another way, it's possible that crime in America could be equal to or greater than it was in times past if deterents to crime had not increased, especially since Levitt's factors 2 and 4 are crucial factors that are not behavior-related.
At best, I think you can argue that reduced crime means Americans are not necessarily worse behaved than in times past, despite any anectodal evidence that seems to suggest otherwise. It doesn't necessarily follow that reduced crime means Americans are better behaved than in times past.