44 Canadian J. Criminology 33 (2002)
Explaining the American and Canadian Crime Drop in the 1990's

handle is hein.journals/cjccj44 and id is 35 raw text is: Explaining the American and Canadian
crime drop in the 1990's€l)
Marc Ouimet
Ecole de criminologie
Universit5 de Montreal
Apros avoir connu des d~cennies d'augmentations ininterrompues de leur
criminalit&, le Canada et les Etats-Unis connaissent des baisses
importantes depuis 1993. Plusieurs explications ont r~cemment fait
surface aux Etats-Unis sur les facteurs pouvant expliquer un tel
changement de tendance, dont une augmentation dans le nombre de
policiers, l'application par les forces de l'ordre de m~thodes plus
r~pressives et laugmentation importante du taux d'incarcration. Notre
analyse des diffrrences de la criminalit6 de 1993 & 1999 pour six types
d'infractions dans cinq regions canadiennes et aux Etats-Unis indique
que des baisses de la criminalit6 sont observables au Canada sans que
des changements notables en termes de r~pression policire ou
d'incarcration soient notables. Ainsi, les explications d~mographiques,
6conomiques et culturelles semblent plus aptes & rendre compte des
baisses de la criminalit6.
After decades of continuously increasing crime rates, Canada and the
United States have now experienced their first prolonged period of decline
in crime rates. Criminologists are just starting to look at the reasons
that may explain such a reversal. In the U.S., many factors have been
invoked to explain the trend, including increases in the number of police
officers, more aggressive policing, and an increased use of incarceration.
Although Canada's crime trends are similar to those found in the U.S.,
there has been little or no change in policing practices or incarceration
trends. This paper suggests that the causes of the decline in crime rates
lie elsewhere, namely, in demographic shifts, improved employment
opportunities, and changes in collective values.
Crime in Canada, as recorded by official statistics, increased
annually during the 1960's and 1970's. This led to scepticism
among many scholars regarding the validity of the crime figures.
According to Hagan (1991), the growth in crime during that period
can be explained partly by better recording practices and by a
Canadian Journal of Criminology  33 to 50
Revue canadienne de criminologie  January/janvier 2002

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