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Did Criminal Activity Increase during the 1980s? Comparisons across Data Sources

Scott Boggess and John Bound
Social Science Quarterly
Vol. 78, No. 3 (September 1997), pp. 725-739
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42863563
Page Count: 15
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Did Criminal Activity Increase during the 1980s? Comparisons across Data Sources
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Abstract

Objective. This research attempts to reconcile the apparent differences in trends during the last fifteen years between the primary indicators of criminal activity in the United States. Methods. We carefully analyzed data from the Uniform Crime Reports, the National Crime Victimization Survey, the National Corrections Reporting Program, and the Drug Abuse Warning Network. Results. We show that sensible interpretations exist for the discrepancies between the various indicators of criminal activity. Conclusions. When the focus is on serious violent crime, all indicators show a rise starting in the mid-1980s. The timing and nature of the rise in criminal activity seem to implicate crack cocaine.

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