With all of publicity surrounding crime statistics, it is easy to get a misleading impression about the risks that homicides pose. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control can provide a factual basis from which to assess the real risks.
Recent empirical research has shown that juveniles do not achieve complete psychosocial maturity until post-adolescence and that trying juveniles as adults can be associated with elevated rates of criminal recidivism (Steinberg & Cauffman, 1996). In response to these as well as other concerns, several states including Illinois, Conneticut, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and New Hampshire, have recently raised their legal ages of majority in the hopes of reducing juvenile offending rates.
There have been claims for decades that in the United States the death penalty serves as a deterrent. When there are executions, violent crime decreases. But there have also been claims that executions “brutalize” society because government agencies diminish respect for life when the death penalty is applied. With brutalization comes an increase in violent crime, and especially homicides. Both sides assert that there is credible research supporting their position.
UPDATED: The FBI recently released the 2016 crime figures from its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system. Based on information from all of the police departments responding, property crime fell by 2% compared to 2015, while violent crime was up 3.5% in the same time period.
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