As part of a unit I am studying on conflict resolution I was asked to consider, and ask others to consider, these questions:

For a graphical review of the solutions to these questions click on this link at the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

In Europe over the last 200 years increased  urbanisation and education have led to more people learning about the acceptable requirements of a modern society and having to live within the close proximity with others so accepting  those learnt practices and hence the fall in violent crime.  The quirk of America exception to this rule has several underlying roots – as identified by Erik Monkkonen – as including mobility, federalism, slavery and tolerance.  Yet I knew that on Monday Nov 27th, 2012 there were no recorded “murders, stabbings or slashings” in New York City. And furthermore, while we would assume that robberies go up during times of economic downturn, that this hasn’t been the case national in the US during the past four years.  My age means I was first exposed to an America through stories of gun-crime, gangster rap and crack ghettoes, which relates to my own initial overestimates on the issue.  Although as an Englishman the prevalence of firearms would seem to be culturally de-stabilizing, I am aware that the cities of Washington, New York, L.A. and Chicago are vastly improved – and my North American friends seemed to be equally informed.  These more recent developments in violent crime statistics and the required related analysis seem more important than the grand historical perspective.  Is this more recent fall due to an increased policy on incarceration or is it as Steven Levitt argues in Freakanomics related to a 1974 ruling which allowed more abortions and hence fewer children were born into troubled homes. Now that is what I want to find out.