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Gigantic Purple Slug

Did Removing Lead From Petrol Spark A Decline In Crime ?

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I am not convinced that there has been a drop in crime.

But if I concede that point, it must surely be related only to the sort of crimes taht can be attributed to neural damage such as kicking somebody's head in because they have looked at you in the wrong way.

I can't see how cognitive effects on the brain would have reduced white collar crime, which indeed seems to have increased, especially at the higher levels of the system.

And what about those potentail criminal politicians whose actions are going to lead to ww3?

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Definitely not. You only have to look at the contents of any housing association block of flats to see that the IQ of most of the population is declining.

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Better tech, burglar alarms, double glazing, cars that are more secure, street camera's..the list is endless.

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Now that the lead in petrol had been removed, I am no longer compelled to hit my cellmate over the head with a sock full of batteries to pinch his snouts

Surely the lack of lead must be a good thing? Both London and New York are not the places they were 25 years ago! If you want real violent crime, you have to go to Caracas, or Joburg! :mellow:

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Better tech, burglar alarms, double glazing, cars that are more secure, street camera's..the list is endless.

Over all of those, id say ageing is the biggest factor. The criminal age group (15-35 year olds) rose in the 60s after the 1945-65 baby boom, peaked in the 70s and 80s as a percent of overall society and has been dropping since. Same trend in crime here, US, everywhere. Its that simple. If 15-35 year olds make up 20% of the population and this falls to half, crime rates will probably fall as similar amount.

Only country to buck the trend has been france, which didnt have much of a baby bust and has been importing more young criminal age immigrants than other countries.

Of course, the politicians and cops will say its their hard work (just as they do with road deaths - despite the fact there are just as many crashes as 50 years ago, just less fatal, which illustrates its purely technology, not education or better 'policing')

Irks me no end when people say 'we need more bobbies on the beat'

No, we need less Police. Much less. Interfering wastes of space the lot of them.

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Over all of those, id say ageing is the biggest factor. The criminal age group (15-35 year olds) rose in the 60s after the 1945-65 baby boom, peaked in the 70s and 80s as a percent of overall society and has been dropping since. Same trend in crime here, US, everywhere. Its that simple. If 15-35 year olds make up 20% of the population and this falls to half, crime rates will probably fall as similar amount.

Only country to buck the trend has been france, which didnt have much of a baby bust and has been importing more young criminal age immigrants than other countries.

Of course, the politicians and cops will say its their hard work (just as they do with road deaths - despite the fact there are just as many crashes as 50 years ago, just less fatal, which illustrates its purely technology, not education or better 'policing')

Irks me no end when people say 'we need more bobbies on the beat'

No, we need less Police. Much less. Interfering wastes of space the lot of them.

You've clearly not bothered reading the paper before commenting; the analysis does of course take this into consideration. You'd have to be a pretty stupid researcher not to take account of such an obvious covariate!

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If they took blood samples from every person convicted of crime and then mapped out the micro-nutrients to produce charts showing that frauds had more B12 then violent offenders who had less thiamin, or magnesium or whatever; then that'd be interesting.

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Steven Levett in "Freakanomics" put the crime reduction in the US down to the relaxation of abortion laws a few decades before (his somewhat unpleasant "theory" being that all the underclass mums started aborting what otherwise would have been the next generation of criminals) .

You can show all kinds of correlations using stats; doesn't prove causality though.

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Steven Levett in "Freakanomics" put the crime reduction in the US down to the relaxation of abortion laws a few decades before (his somewhat unpleasant "theory" being that all the underclass mums started aborting what otherwise would have been the next generation of criminals) .

You can show all kinds of correlations using stats; doesn't prove causality though.

Unfortunately, because the unmarried mum to be gets a place to live in UK, the American Abortion model doesn't work here. :(

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Unfortunately, because the unmarried mum to be gets a place to live in UK, the American Abortion model doesn't work here. :(

I don't like the eugenic trend of some of these posts.

Whether or not the underclass is more adversely affected, you cannot know what potential for good has been lost by killing unborn children.

There's definitely a racial aspect to this - in the USA more black babies are aborted than born.

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Steven Levett in "Freakanomics" put the crime reduction in the US down to the relaxation of abortion laws a few decades before (his somewhat unpleasant "theory" being that all the underclass mums started aborting what otherwise would have been the next generation of criminals) .

Thinking that the theory is unpleasant does not make it incorrect.

Personally I think it's entirely reasonable to believe that unwanted children born to mothers who can't look after them are substantially more likely to have poor life outcomes.

You can show all kinds of correlations using stats; doesn't prove causality though.

There's really quite a bit of evidence supporting the theory, far more than can simply be explained away by random chance.

In terms of causality the alternative theory that crime today affects abortion rates 20 years ago is obviously wrong..

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Not sure why you need convincing: It's a fact.

And sure stats can be manipulated:

But you can't hide murders. And they've plunged over the last 20 years:

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/murder-rate-hits-42yearlow-in-london-8462974.html

No it's not a fact - there are too many ways of counting (or not counting) crime rates, and too many arguments about what constitutes crime.

For example, we know that massive crimes have taken place in the City of London (LIBOR, for example) and New York but no prosecutions have taken place. The former prosecutor for the SEC let the cat out of the bag recently when upon retirement he said that there was no will to prosecute because regulators were looking for jobs in the big financial firms at much higher rates of pay.

Oh, and one sure fire way of reducing the murder rate is to classify such crimes - as for example, when somebody gets hammered in the back of the head by a nail gun - as suicide.

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In terms of causality the alternative theory that crime today affects abortion rates 20 years ago is obviously wrong..

Well no, the alternative theory is that abortion has nothing to do with it. The abortion theory only applies to the US; the lead-in-petrol theory correlates in different countries so is stronger. But most likely IMO is that it's due to a whole range of factors, not a single cause.

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If proven beyond reasonable doubt it does make a mockery of legal systems in the world if our propensity to commit crime is influenced by factors that we have no control over. I think this has always been the case with peoples upbringing and whilst its hard to link someones uprbinging with a crimee they've commited it's possible. For example many heroin.addicts become addicts because they were abused as children, sometimes growing up with parents whowere addicts themselves.

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Steven Levett in "Freakanomics" put the crime reduction in the US down to the relaxation of abortion laws a few decades before (his somewhat unpleasant "theory" being that all the underclass mums started aborting what otherwise would have been the next generation of criminals) .

You can show all kinds of correlations using stats; doesn't prove causality though.

Yes indeed. It would be hard to "prove" just one cause!

But I don't think tetra-ethyl lead was a good air freshener!

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If proven beyond reasonable doubt it does make a mockery of legal systems in the world if our propensity to commit crime is influenced by factors that we have no control over.

An excellent observation. It also undermines a lot ot philosophical and theological notions concerning sin, human nature and so on.

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You could argue that the reduction in rotary dial telephones was the main cause in the drop of crime, but it wouldn't make it true.

No, I think it was the Telex machines causing crime! :blink:

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You could argue that the reduction in rotary dial telephones was the main cause in the drop of crime, but it wouldn't make it true.

You couldn't make much of an argument for that.

The argument for a link between leaded petrol and rates of violent crime does not just depend on correlations, but also suggests a possible mechanism. In short: It is known that ingestion of lead reduces intelligence, and it is also known that people of lower intelligence are more likely to commit violent crimes, hence ingestion of lead could be a cause of violent crime.

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You couldn't make much of an argument for that.

The argument for a link between leaded petrol and rates of violent crime does not just depend on correlations, but also suggests a possible mechanism. In short: It is known that ingestion of lead reduces intelligence, and it is also known that people of lower intelligence are more likely to commit violent crimes, hence ingestion of lead could be a cause of violent crime.

Wasn't lead a factor also in the collapse of the Roman Empire?

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An excellent observation. It also undermines a lot ot philosophical and theological notions concerning sin, human nature and so on.

Not really. It's been known for a long time that people commit crimes for reasons outside their control. Free will is largely an illusion; we just pretend that it exists so as to be able to maintain an ordered society.

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If proven beyond reasonable doubt it does make a mockery of legal systems in the world if our propensity to commit crime is influenced by factors that we have no control over. I think this has always been the case with peoples upbringing and whilst its hard to link someones uprbinging with a crimee they've commited it's possible. For example many heroin.addicts become addicts because they were abused as children, sometimes growing up with parents whowere addicts themselves.

It can be argued that any crime committed by a person is a result of a huge chain of events that they had little control over.

However, 'fear/aversion to getting caught and the consequences' is at least part of this 'chain of events'. So it has to remain there.

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