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Did Violent Crime Rates Drop in the 1990S Due to Cellphone Ownership?

22nd December 2012

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Researchers for the Institute for Law and Economics have released a new paper that draws a correlation between mobile phone adoption and a dramatic drop in crime in the 1990s, especially instances of rape and assault. In the paper, Mobile Phones and Crime Deterrence: An Underappreciated Link, authors University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Jonathan Klick, Penn criminology professor John MacDonald, and George Mason University professor Thomas Stratmann speculate that the ability of mobile phones to allow victims to more quickly report crimes acts as a deterrent for criminals, who faced more risk in the 1990s as mobile technology became more widespread. “Mobile phones allow for quicker reporting of crimes, and, in some cases, real time communication of details about the crime and the criminal,” Klick and his colleagues write. “The presence of mobile phones increases the likelihood of punishment along a number of different margins.”

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