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Texas' Crime Rate Falling More Rapidly Than National Rate.
Trivia Tidbit of the Day: Part 960 -- Texas Crime Rate Declines-
Crime has been declining in the United States for roughly two decades now, and the declines seem to continue in good times and in bad times alike.
Always such a pivotal issue in the 1980s, rarely nowadays is crime even mentioned on the campaign trail, on the nightly news, or elsewhere as a major problem. There's less of it. People are safer. Our communities are safer. And that's great news.
But crime is still a drain on society. It harms individuals. It tears families apart. It ties up public resources. It depresses the economy.
So what if I told you that, just as Texas' relatively conservative fiscal policy has led to higher economic growth and more jobs than in states with more left-wing fiscal policy, and just as Texas' legal reforms have compelled Americans-- especially physicians-- to vote with their feet and move to Texas, and just as forced unionization has driven businesses and workers to Right to Work states like Texas, it turns out that Texas' criminal justice policy may also be a model for other states, too.
Examining Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) data, Texas is improving its crime rate faster than the rest of the country, all while bringing costs down by tapping the brakes on both incarceration and recidivism. For the latest data available, Texas showed improvements far greater than the national improvements on both violent crime and property crime:
The Texas Public Policy Foundation's Marc Levin adds:
The Lone Star State has emerged as a national leader in criminal justice reform, strengthening alternatives to incarceration by using conservative principles such as limited government and accountability. The dramatic crime drop in Texas far surpasses the national downward trend and validates the smart approach to cutting crime and costs that Texas continues to take and which the Foundation’s Right on Crime initiative has promoted across the nation.
And, on every single sub-category of crime, Texas is improving faster than the nation:
There is a conservative model for producing safer communities, while safeguarding against busting the budget by simply constructing more and more prisons. It's not found in Illinois, where the number of prisoners recently hit an unexpected record high, nor in Philly, where the prison population has soared to 9,170 in an expensive prison system designed to hold 6,500 people.
The blueprint for improving crime rates and reducing costs to taxpayers is found in Texas and a growing number of states adopting conservative "Right on Crime" criminal justice principles. Back in 2005, Texas legislators looked at the bleak fiscal reality before them-- the state was going to have to spend at least a billion dollars building eight new prisons by 2012, unless something changed. So they changed.
Yes, as with education and health care and other issues, Texas has some unique challenges, given its proximity to the Mexican border. Not every single reform Texas has embarked on might be right for every other state, but the takeaway here is that the Texas success story extends well beyond economics, into keeping citizens safe without creating an over-criminalized, overbearing police state.
So, while crime may no longer be much of an issue in campaigns and elections (which is odd, given the rampant increase in murders in left-dominated places like Chicago), it's still yet another issue that Texans can brag about.
Previous Trivia Tidbit: Reagan Versus Bush Versus Obama Jobs Cage Match.
Legal/ethical disclaimer/disclosure stuff: I helped the Texas Public Policy Foundation's Right on Crime initiative develop these infographics; also, some years back, I was employed full-time by TPPF. As always, the thoughts expressed at WILLisms.com are mine and not those of TPPF, Right on Crime, or any other client or employer, past, current, or future.
Posted by Will Franklin · 25 September 2012 12:55 PM