CRIME and ABORTION - The 4th of the 5-Part Series
This is the fourth in a five-part series, continued from original post, please comment there, thanks. Upcoming topics include how five renowned Ph.D. criminologists/economists can't all be wrong and how Freakonomics author Steven Levitt ignored another major factor boosting crime, one which may have been a result of legalized abortion...
"...some details are misreported, misexplained, misread and/or misanalyzed."
B. EXTRA! CRIME SPIKES AFTER ROE EFFECT SHOULD HAVE LOWERED IT! (continued)
3) The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) shows that, after spiking in 1980 (to 596.6) parallel with the overall crime rate, the violent crime rate then jumped even more drastically, surpassing 1980's rate every year from 1986 through 1997, when it was 610.8. The rate hit an all-time high of 758.1 per 100,000 population in 1991.
In 1991, there were 2 million fewer potential criminals aged 18 through 21. In 1996 and 1997, there were 7.9 and 9.4 million fewer potential criminals aged 18 to 27, respectively. Had abortion truly affected crime rates as presumed, the overall and violent crime rates in 1991, '96 and '97 should have decreased accordingly but clearly didn't.
4) Though the murder rate did decline since 1991, it had spiked in 1991 (from under 9 per 100,000 population between 1984-’89) to a high of 10.6 (higher than Great Depression levels), despite having 2 million fewer potential criminals aged 18 through 21 (only 745,000 of which would have been 18). The rate remained above 9 from 1989 through 1994, years when there were 700,000 and 5.2 million fewer 18 to 24 year olds, respectively, thanks to legalized abortion.
Murder in small cities in some years also contradicts the abortion/crime theory:
"[A] comparison of the data from 2002 and 2003 showed increases in the number of murders in all other population groups labeled city. Cities with 100,000 to 249,999 [Table 12, Group II] inhabitants experienced an increase in murders of 6.8 percent…The 2-year trend data indicated that the number of murders in cities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants increased 20.0 percent from 2002 to 2003…[Table 12, Group VI]"There were 24,549,216 people in "Group II" cities, and 19,422,822 in "Group VI" cities in 2003. That’s 8.4 percent and 6.7 percent of the total 2003 population (290,809,777), respectively.
Due to Roe, the nation had a total of 18.8 million fewer 18 to 33 year olds in 2003.
Thus Group II cities (100,000 to 249,999 people) shared a total reduction of 1.6 million fewer potential criminals that year due to legalized abortion—but also a single-year murder rate increase of 6.8 percent. Another 1.3 million fewer lived among all Group VI cities (under 10,000) where the murder rate jumped 20 percent that year.
Of course, the "missing persons" count is a cumulative effect and the murder rate jumps are single-year incidences, but the cumulative effect is notable. Why?
Each "big abortion year" (1.5 million or more annually) of 1980 through 1992 theoretically most cut criminal-age population starting in the subsequent 16-18 years. If abortion were even partly responsible for reducing crime, crime's decline should be pronounced and steady from 1996 through 2002 (technically we'd track through this 2010)—when there were respectively between 10.9 million and 20.4 million fewer people aged 16 through 26.
Because "the big abortion years" most decreased the criminal-age population in the 1996-2002 period, 2003 should have been a banner year in the "war on crime" everywhere, but it wasn't.
5) Also while "the big abortion years" most decreased 1996-2002 criminal-age populations, the drug arrest rate peaked in the consecutive years 1995, 1996 and 1997 (up from 400 to 590-600) despite having 9.4 million, 10.9 million and 12.5 million fewer potential criminals aged 16 to 27, respectively. The abortion/crime theory indicates that this rate should have been dropping since at least 1989, if not 1986 when those who would have been born in 1970 would have turned 16.
6) The percentage of heroin/cocaine possession arrests spiked up from about 10 percent in 1980 to 32 percent in 1989 (the year that crime rates should have started dropping). These percentages remained at high levels (30 percent +/-) from 1990 through 1998, the year there were 9.4 million fewer people aged 19 through 28. Also in 1998, the percentage of heroin/cocaine dealer arrests remained higher than pre-1987 levels, after having increased from 5 percent in 1980 to about 19 percent from 1989 through 1998.
7) The U.S. prison population stayed under 175,000 from 1925 until 1973, broke the 300,000 prisoner mark in 1980, then climbed drastically to 1.13 million state penitentiary prisoners by 1997, despite the population having 9.4 million fewer 18-27 year olds because of abortion. We rose most steeply to the 600,000-prisoner mark by 1989. That year, this rate presumably should have started dropping due to abortion, yet it did and continued to do the exact opposite.
Others have written extensively about the other factors affecting prison rates (e.g., legislation, enforcement, wars, drugs, poverty, education). I don't ignore these factors. But neither can it be ignored that, in the eight years from 1989 to 1997, this prisoner count climbed approximately 88 percent, or 11 percent a year, while by 1997, the country had 9.4 million total fewer 18-27 year olds. Compare that with a 2.4 percent average annual growth rate of prisoner counts for the 50-year period 1925 - 1975 (from under 100,000 prisoners to 200,000). For about 48 years prior to the time of Roe v. Wade, prison populations were not a huge problem needing paring down either.
Put another way: it took the U.S. just under 50 years to increase the prison population by 100 percent (from under 100,000 to 200,000). It took us eight more years to reach 340 percent of 1925's prisoner count ('75-'83; 400,000), nine more years to reach 780 percent of 1925's number ('84-'92; 800,000) and five more years to reach 1,150 percent of 1925's prison population (1.13 million). This, after losing 13 percent of what would have been 2002's population (331,759,000 = 43.4 million abortions plus actual 2002 population of 288,368,698).
It seems apparent that abortion at least isn't very responsible for making a serious dent in the prison population.
8) For twenty-two years from 1978 to 2000, the number of prisoners under death sentence rose steadily from 482 to 3,601 (647% or a 29.4 percent average annual increase). Yet by 2000, there were 12.5 million fewer people aged 19 through 30 due to legal abortion. We cumulatively had lost about 22 percent of what would have been 2000's 19-30 year old population (56 million = 12.5 million abortions plus 36,318,000 [2000 population for 20-29 year olds] plus 7 million total for 19 and 30 year olds).
Why was there greater and more violent crime, some warranting death sentences, when abortion is theorized to have helped reduced all that? Could the spikes in murders and increase in death row inmates be partly a result of higher immigration? Drug wars, especially crack? Gangs? The "super-predator" scare? Could it be partly because those who were being born being were "more criminally-inclined?" Did abortion eliminate those less criminally inclined? Are those who were born "less wanted" or "more disadvantaged" after they were born than abortion's promise led us to believe, thus committing worse crimes? Is the increase in death row inmates greatly due to increased vigilance and tougher laws?
The answer to all of the above could be "yes." And even the hardest pro-choice advocate honestly can see the possibility that, after legally valuing life inside the womb for over one-hundred years, once we then devalued human life that way, the value of any human life came into question.
There aren't easy answers, if any. These examples point out more difficulties in assigning credit to abortion for lowering crime.
The fifth and final segment tomorrow.