Starting in late 1950s, U.S. Democrats take leadership on crime issue.

I mean, Senate Democrats went after Eisenhower as relatively weak on defense and for allowing a so-called "missile gap" with the Soviet Union. We later learned that the reason the Soviets were so closed-mouthed is that they were far behind.

What essentially was going on was that slightly younger and healthier men in the Senate were playing macho posturing games with a somewhat older Eisenhower who had had a heart attack.

Point being, if Democrats can play the tough guy on defense. . . they seemingly can play tough on the crime issue as well.
 
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Demographics explain rising crime rates better than anything else.

It's primarily young men between the ages of 16 and 25. Yes, even though women are well-represented in the annals or crimes, as a statistical matter, it's young men in this age range committing more than their fair share. Even though most don't commit crimes.

Take 21-years-old for a mid point and add then this to 1946 as the first "Baby Boom" year. So, by 1967, we're going to have rising crime rates. It would be a surprise if this didn't happen.

And if the public better understands this, the whole discussion goes better.
 
That and lots more tetraethyl lead in the air.
I just have a hard time thinking that a measly 5 point drop in IQ, for example, has this big an effect. I mean, shit, 5 points is approaching the limit of what we can measure with any amount of confidence.

I’m sure we can compare a graph of lead over time to crime over time.

But . . . other things are going on at the same time, such as increased urbanization, such as the rise of movies as mass entertainment. And of course it makes a difference when you graphically display various violent acts. Doesn’t mean censorship is the way to go, but it does make a difference.
 
I’m glad you brought up this case from the early 1970s 1964.

At first it was taken as an example of the “bystander effect” — the more people, the less chance any one person will call the police, because they figure someone else already has.

But then, someone basically said, look, New Yorkers are used to a noisy environment, and thus have a higher threshold (forgot the fancy name of this).

Some neighbors thought it was an argument between lovers. But actually, Kitty Genovese was being attacked by a mentally ill man. Some lights of surrounding homes and apartments went on, he ran away. The lights went off, he came back. A real tragedy, no question.
 
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Well whether you buy the lead theory or not the reality is that over several decades there was a general global reduction in violent crime that seems to be utterly unrelated to countries being 'tough on crime' or pursuing more rehabilitation based approaches. Some factor beyond political viewpoints was having an effect so I'm guessing whatever stance the Democratic Party takes is unlikely to make much of a practical difference.

Politically it might even backfire as those on the receiving end of such crackdowns tend to be from some of the very demographics that voted Democratic, not because they commit more crime but because its easier for police to target poorer people and ethnic minorities to make their statistics look better.
 
And although the standard story is that the bystanders in their apartments were passive idiots (for whatever reason), the reality seems quite a bit more complicated.


“ . . . When the first attack happened, on Austin Street, a shout from a window scared Moseley away. In addition, a retired police officer recalls that, as a boy, he saw Genovese staggering down Austin Street and Moseley fleeing in the opposite direction and that his father called the police. Others have also said that they called, Levine adds. . . ”

“ . . . says that many of the trial witnesses could have revised their stories . . . ”

“ . . . Levine, however, defends the conclusion that the oft-told Genovese story distorts the facts. . . ”
So, it gets complicated. But maybe the bystanders weren’t so passive after all.
 
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So, it gets complicated. But maybe the bystanders weren’t so passive after all.
But still worked out that people didn't want to get involved, and a girl was repeatedly stabbed, and bled out, by a guy who liked raping and murdering women. She was not the first victim.

His Death Sentence was commuted, just like Manson.
Then on rhe years to follow, you had court cases where was ruled the Police had no duty to protect the populace.
People thought they were living in a jungle, crimewise, even if they were not. It was enough to get the punishment pendulum swinging the other way.
 
Just as the "Missile Gap" issue, not to mention LBJ's Vietnam policy, did not arrest the(relative) leftward drift of the Democratic Party on foreign-policy, I don't think a late 50s tough-on-crime stance is going to prevent the Dems from being the more liberal party on law and-order issues. They were by then the party of the New Deal, which means they're the party of African Americans, and employees/supporters of the welfare-state, neither of whom are going to appreciate the kind of scaremongering(often racialized) that tends to go hand in glove with hardcore tough-on-crime stances.

(And yes, I realize that many African Americans are more conservative on law-and-order than their white liberal allies would care to acknowledge. But it's one thing to answer yes on a survey to "Should the police be tougher on drug deals in your neighbourhood", but quite another to support a Willie Horton-style campaign.)
 
But still worked out that people didn't want to get involved, and a girl was repeatedly stabbed, and bled out, by a guy who liked raping and murdering women. She was not the first victim.
We humans are used to living in small groups where we care about the welfare of each and every person. This is a great thing,

Except . . .

We lose patience with improvements that don’t “solve” the problem. Perhaps from time to time, we should all remind ourselves that every small change which even marginally improves the numbers, well, that’s real persons who aren’t robbed, raped, or murdered.
 
Realistically speaking democrats deciding to "take leadership" on the crime issue in the late 1950s would feature things like a second round of mccarthy hearings, pols talking about taking a "touh line" on miscegnation/communism/comic books and the like for what it'd look like.

If you want to prevent modern "tough on crime" stuff, you need either a quieter 1960-80 or to avoid reaganism*. HHH then muskie would probably be little better than OTL 1969-81, but it'd at least mean an overton window shifted leftwards enough on econ to prevent Reaganism from being credible. Removing watergate would both weaken various anti-government sentiments and delay/prevent certain shifts in both parties coalitions to prevent Reaganism. So there's 2 PODs for that.

* More to avoid neoliberalizing "reforms" than anything to do with Reagan per se. I don't know what the linkage is, but I do think there's _something_ to Edward Luttwak's noticing in his turbo-capitalism the prevelance of "tough on crime" mentalities/puritanical mores in the more neoliberal us/uk than say other countries
 

So, demographics are king. This article mentions young men aged 15 to 29, as being responsibility for half of all violent crime.

As the Baby Boom ages into this range . . . crime increases . . .

Almost regardless of what we do.

—————-

But I say we can still do smart policy which makes a difference at the margins:

1) all the liberal programs of education and job training. As well as simply creating more jobs, and somehow this part is not emphasized near enough.

2) better investigation and conviction when crimes are committed, and

3) We can run prisons better and avoid brutalization. In particular, neither men nor women need to be raped.

That is, a mix of liberal and conservative approaches. And to a considerable extent, good policy is actually good politics?

———-

And when the Baby Boom ages out . . . will decrease.
 
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I just have a hard time thinking that a measly 5 point drop in IQ, for example, has this big an effect. I mean, shit, 5 points is approaching the limit of what we can measure with any amount of confidence.

I’m sure we can compare a graph of lead over time to crime over time.
LEAD_PBEFFECT_300.png


https://www.motherjones.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/blog_lead_crime_international.jpg?resize=990,610
blog_lead_crime_international.jpg


he concluded that if you add a lag time of 23 years, lead emissions from automobiles explain 90 percent of the variation in violent crime in America.


 
. . . the kind of scaremongering(often racialized) that tends to go hand in glove with hardcore tough-on-crime stances. . .
If the standard line was so shitty (and it was!) . . .

I'm mean, it seems like it would just be a piece-of-cake to outcompete, right? Now, my approach, it can be viewed, hey, you're throwing down on young men. But that's infinitely better than a racialized appeal. With the age approach, the conversation all flows so quickly: we all know and probably have young men in our families, the vast majority of young men are not criminals, etc.
 
Realistically speaking democrats deciding to "take leadership" on the crime issue in the late 1950s would feature things like a second round of mccarthy hearings, pols talking about taking a "touh line" on miscegnation/communism/comic books and the like for what it'd look like. . .
Maybe not. I continue to be optimistic that, on crime, good policy is good politics.

It's like the average citizen knows enough and has thought through it enough that he or she has achieved and exceeded some kind of threshold, so that a politician who talks about comic books, for example, risks being laughed at. And no politician likes being laughed at.
 
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