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Reading Analysis of “Where Have All the Criminals Gone?”

Executive Summary

This document will initially summarize the arguments, line of thought and recommendation made by Dubner and Levitt in their analysis of dropping crime rates in America. The document will the briefly introduce the methods of critical thinking as prescribed by Wolcott and continue to analyze the ‘crime rate’ argument using the critical thinking model. Lastly, the document will conclude with the major points and recommendations.

Framing the Problem

The comparison between the abortion bans in Romania in 1966 to the legalization periods of abortion in the United States is a compelling one. For over 500 years, the prevalence of violent crimes in the United States was stable. This was caused mainly by the high infant mortality rate due to poor access to medical facilitates as well as poor nutrition. However, by 1960, the rate of violent crime had multiplied progressively as well as the employment rates and the economy. In Chapter 4, the writers argue on the possible origins for the drop in the crime starting from the early 1990s. They authors present the causes and outline their importance and the magnitude of their effect on crime rates. While the chapter was intriguing, the authors did not delve deeper in elucidating how their established causes were applicable in their importance.

While the chapter clarifies several reasons in immense detail, others were simply mentioned briefly. Dubner and Levitt proposed eight theories that explained the decline in criminal activity and included their own theory that happened to make many American women procure abortions. Their theory proposed that the abortions were done with the hindsight that their children would have led unhappy and impoverished lives were they were born. There is a close relationship between abortion rates and crime rates. It was discovered that states having the highest rates of abortion also exhibited the highest declines in crime.

Using Relevant Information

In this section, the ‘crime rate’ argument presented by Dubner and Levitt will be re-analyzed using the steps in Wolcott’s model of critical thinking. The first step is identification of the issue, the applicable information and other discrepancies. In this case, the main problem is dropping crime rates and increased abortion instances within the United States. The two authors used the Romanian example where abortion and birth control were banned by the national leader. The correlation between high abortion rates and faster declines in crime rates was highly relevant. The evidence affirming this behavior was also present. However, other situations made the correlation irrelevant. However, there is not direct and appropriate solution to lower the crime rates as abortion in itself is highly controversial and can be a crime.

The next step is exploring the explanations and connections. In this case, the strong correlation between high abortion rates and decline in crime rates presents a perspective that may easily convince the investigator that abortion is the solution to crime. However, this is biased in that abortion does not directly contribute to lower criminal activity but simply aids to lowering it. The other assumption is that abortions are procured strictly because of ensuing financial problems.

Evaluating Alternative Solutions

The next step is prioritizing the different options and applying the conclusions. Between the two variables, criminal activity should be given a higher priority compared to abortion. Crime directly affects all human being globally and, therefore, reducing or eliminating crime will be beneficial. Conversely, abortion is also universal. However, it only applies to pregnant women only and even in this case; its priority is still low because it remains a personal choice. Curbing crime will need a multifaceted approach that covers economic and social solutions. Lowering unemployment rates, increasing number of police officers and stabilizing the economy are some of the economic solutions that can lower crime rate. Social solutions include police reforms to incorporate better policing strategies and destroying drug rings and trafficking.

However, a solution such as increasing the number of police would translate into increased law enforcement but the increase in personnel would be cause by a political decision and not the need to increase safety. Politicians seeking political mileage may decide to employ more police officers to pass across a message that he is caring and concerned about the safety of the neighborhood. However, this does not alter the fact that law enforcers contribute towards lower crime rates. The economic solutions may be difficult to implement due to political interference that may distort or amend the initial solution. Acquiring sufficient funds to implement these recommendations may also prove difficult. Transforming certain working culture for instances the police system might be met with resistance.

Drawing Conclusions

Dubner and Levitt appropriately tackled the proposal of a casual correlation between criminal activity and abortion. However, considering abortion as an instrument that can be used to deter criminal activity is illogical. Through critical thinking, one can perceive the main issues, the various assumptions, organize the alternatives into level of urgency and implement the best solution. In the case of the Romanian dictator, it required critical thinking to conclude that increasing the population drastically would lead to a population explosion that would subsequently lead to lower living standards.

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