Report: Video Games Help Reduce Violent Crime Rates

June 21, 2011 -

A BBC report (thanks Magic) tries to surmise why violent crime rates in the United States have dropped dramatically in the last twenty years. The report offers ten possible reasons for this including The Obama presidency, good police work, the fall in demand for crack cocaine, police department number crunching, aging baby boomers, a decline in children's exposure to lead in petrol, more criminals behind bars, and a controversial theory that the increased availability of legal abortion has had an impact on population in poorer neighborhoods.

But the most interesting reason comes in at number nine. That entry cites a recent study conducted by researchers in Texas working with the Centre for European Economic Research. From the article:

9. A study released last month suggested video games were keeping young people off the streets and therefore away from crime. Researchers in Texas working with the Centre for European Economic Research said this "incapacitation effect" more than offset any direct impact the content of the games may have had in encouraging violent behaviour.

There's probably data to support every one of these theories, but save the study on abortion, it is more likely that all of these factors have had a cumulative effect on violent crime in the United States. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the rise of forensic science and the use of DNA evidence in combating crime and capturing criminals.

While we do not know what impact video games have had in reducing crime, it's obvious that  games are not increasing violent crime statistics..


Comments

Re: Report: Video Games Help Reduce Violent Crime Rates

Actually, the increasing number of incarcerated persons is a bad thing. Too many people are put in overpopulated prisons over non-violent drug offenses and are coming out worse than when they went in.

Given that the US has one the largest prison populations in the world, that says something interesting about us: We are either a society of degenerates or we willfully throw away segments of the population because they are doing something that wouldn't be a real problem if it were legal.

Re: Report: Video Games Help Reduce Violent Crime Rates

The only prediction the "games-cause-violence" hypothesis makes has been falsified.  If games turned people into killers, then crime rates would have risen as games became more widespread.  This did not happen.

Does this mean that games have reduced crime?  Probably not, and it seems a bit perposterous to say so...but if someone thinks this warrants further (and responsible) investigation, then more power to them.  

What fustrates me is the fact that this is not new information.  We have known for quite some time that crime rates have decreased as games became more popular.  And yet, liars like Jack Thompson & Leland Yee have continued to claim games increase violence.  Part of why they continue to say these things is because they are liars, but another reason is because the spineless Games Industry lets them.  These statistics should have been the main points of fact the industry put in front of themselves in the face of regulators.  Unfortunately they did not, and this irresponsibility may very well fuck them in the end...

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