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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Andrew EisenI think more professional gamblers should get into games publishing. They'll play the odds but they'll also take risks to maximize profits.06/30/2015 - 11:57pm
Andrew EisenAt the end of the day, the ball is rolling and it's rolling in the right direction. Maybe not as fast as we'd like, but it is moving. All we can do is play the games that interest us and make our thoughts known.06/30/2015 - 11:55pm
Matthew Wilsonits unfortunate that the dataset is so tiny for female leads, and is a mixed bag, so money people get the wrong idea.06/30/2015 - 11:54pm
Andrew Eisen"Duke Nukem Forever sold poorly. See? Games staring white guys don't sell!" Pretty silly thing to say.06/30/2015 - 11:50pm
Andrew EisenOr, at the very least, that gamers aren't turned off by female leads.06/30/2015 - 11:49pm
Matthew Wilsonyou would think games like metriod, portal and tomb raider would show that it work, but hopefuly those knew ones will.06/30/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenBut, luckily strides are being made and the money peoples are slowly learning that diversity -> larger targeted audience -> more potential dollars.06/30/2015 - 11:43pm
Andrew EisenSure does. That's why there should be more than just one or two attempts. (7 games at E3 with female leads and 35 with a gender option. I think it's safe to say that not all of these will fail!)06/30/2015 - 11:42pm
Matthew Wilsonthat puts alot of presure on the early stuff to do well. lets hope games like recode and harizon are good, and sell well.06/30/2015 - 11:38pm
Andrew EisenLuckily, money people also like to follow trends. So, it's a "simple" matter of making proper representation a trend. And wouldn't you know it, we're seeing the beginnings of exactly that!06/30/2015 - 11:34pm
Andrew EisenBut yeah, money people are risk averse. That's why we see so many sequels, reboots, and adaptations. To a lot of money people, "there's no evidence this works because it's rarely ever been tried" is the same as "this doesn't work."06/30/2015 - 11:33pm
Andrew EisenThat's why I think it's worth convincing the money peoples that proper representation (in any of its forms) isn't a financial risk, it's the path to expanding your audience and making even MORE money!06/30/2015 - 11:32pm
Matthew Wilson@AE will I agree, I kinda understand why. when your risking 50 to 100 mil you are going to try to do the safest thing you can sadly.06/30/2015 - 11:27pm
Matthew Wilsonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0a6H_7_A5o a fairly impressive fake nx showing by hyberes5606/30/2015 - 11:23pm
Andrew EisenYou see that kind of nonsense in the movie business too.06/30/2015 - 11:02pm
Andrew EisenI think the bigger problem are those who see such things as substantive evidence that games with female leads don't sell well.06/30/2015 - 11:01pm
Matthew Wilsonit doesnt help that games like beyond good and evil did not do well.06/30/2015 - 10:58pm
MechaCrashThey don't advertise games with women leads because they don't sell because they don't advertise them because they don't sell because (repeat ad nauseum).06/30/2015 - 10:52pm
Andrew EisenAnd, with representation getting better and better, I think that's exactly what we'll see over the years.06/30/2015 - 10:49pm
Andrew EisenOf course, there's always the opposite viewpoint: perhaps more women would be inclined to join in the so-called AAA space if representation was better.06/30/2015 - 10:48pm
 

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