Franklin Zimring writes here about the drop in crime rates in New York City. Apparently, the piece originally appeared in Scientific American about a year ago. Though the piece is inconclusive about the causes of the drop, I thought this paragraph might be particularly interesting to readers of the Neuroethics & Law Blog (though I suppose its scope may extend beyond available evidence):
Perhaps the most optimistic lesson to take from New York’s experience is that high rates of homicides and muggings are not hardwired into a city’s populations, cultures and institutions. The steady, significant and cumulatively overwhelming crime decline in New York is proof that cities as we know them need not be incubators of robbery, rape and mayhem. Moreover, it demonstrates that the environment in which people are raised does not doom them to a lifetime outside the law—and that neither do their genes. That result is a fundamental surprise to many students of the American city and is the most hopeful insight of criminological science in a century.
(Hat tip: MindHacks)