To explain the thread title;
It’s accepted by everyone who isn’t either a) old and grumpy or b) just alarmist and sccared that in most Western countries, crime is down. Violent crime rates - murder, assault, robbery and the like - were insanely high 30, 40 years ago as compared to today.
There are a number fo common explanations for this:
- Better policing
- More criminals in prison
- Better economic conditions
- Less lead in the atmosphere makes people less violent
- Abortion (the Freakonomics Theory, if you will.)
Yoy might or might not agree with one or more of these things, but it occurred to me; what if it’s just information technology? Consider:
You cannot get away clean these days because of cameras. If I were to go rob a bank, the likelihood I could get away from the scene without being recorded on something is almost nil. The bank is rife with cameras. The outside is scanned by cameras. Other businesses in the area will have cameras. If I park my getaway car some distance from the bank that area might have cameras, or at least cameras will catch all or some of my escape route. Sufficiently enterprising cops will probably be able to find enough time stamped camera footage to see me or the license plate of the car I use.
There just isn’t as much cash around. Back in the day if you mugged a person who looked prosperous there was a good chance it would net you a decent score. Now many people do not carry cash at all. Credit cards can be stolen and used but they’re traceable and carry risk as compared to traceless cash.
Computers follow you. Back in the day, if you could get away, you could really get away. Creating a new identity was much easier. Hell, at one point a person barely had a confirmable legal identity; in 1870 if you got in serious crap in New York, you could flee to California, call yourself by a different name, grow (or shave off) a moustache and with even a modicum of common sense you were pretty much gone. Creating a new identity even 30-40-50 years ago was not impossible. Today, I’m not even sure you could do that at all unless you were willing to live homeless or close to it. Maybe some people have contacts who can create new identities but that’s not something your average crook could do.
Other aspects of crime are also harder because of the tracing of computers. Pawn shops, for instance, are harder places to fence your stolen goods than once they were.
Security is generally easier, so there’s more of it. Watch “Catch Me If You Can,” the fictionalized movie about famed con artist Frank Abignale Jr. He was a skilled impersonator, fast talker, and cheque forger. Now ask yourself if Abignale could do it in 2016. Not a chance, Vance. It’s harder to forge things and people just don’'t take your word for it anymore; they rely on what the computer says.
So my theory is that while IT and portable technologies of all types are creating new ways of committing crimes (e.g. 419 scams, hacks, etc.) they have contributed to eliminating other types of crimes. Thoughts?