Why Are More Americans Than Ever Getting Busted? Reply

The ever-expanding police state.

By J.D. Tuccille


With the crime rate continuing its decades-long slide, why are arrests way up? The answer matters, because arrest records—and subsequent convictions—tend to cast a shadow, limiting people’s options and reducing their income for the rest of their lives. That is, if they still have lives; interactions with the police can be dangerous and even lethal, which is another reason to worry about the growing frequency with which cops slap on the cuffs.

You and your kids are a lot more likely to get busted than your grandparents ever were.

“Americans are experiencing higher rates of arrests and convictions by age 26 than did members of the generations before them,” according to a recent RAND Corporation research brief that draws from a full study published in Crime & Delinquency. “Americans ages 26–35 were 3.6 times more likely to have been arrested by 26 when compared with those who were age 66 and older.”

As a result, about 6.4 percent of Americans born before 1949 have been arrested, compared to about 23 percent of those born between 1979 and 1988.

That might be acceptable if we were talking about dangerous criminals whose arrests contributed to the decline of the violent crime rate by another 3.3 percent from 2017 to 2018 (and of the property crime rate by even more), according to the latest FBI figures. That welcome decline is in addition to the reduction of violent crime by roughly half since 1993. And some of those sorts of criminals are in the mix.


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