Writing in City Journal, the always fascinating James Q. Wilson on why crime declines. An excerpt:
Imprisonment’s crime-reduction effect helps explain why the burglary, car-theft, and robbery rates are lower in the United States than in England. The difference results not from willingness to send convicted offenders to prison, which is about the same in both countries, but in how long America keeps them behind bars. For the same offense, you will spend more time in prison here than in England. Still, prison can’t be the sole reason for the recent crime drop in this country: Canada has seen roughly the same decline in crime, but its imprisonment rate has been relatively flat for at least two decades.