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Rat Academy & Crime Reduction

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Democratic Municipal Officials Digest
Week of 8/8

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In Depth – What Works to Reduce Violent Crime

  • Longer prison sentences do not deter crime. If someone doesn’t believe they will get caught, there is no difference between a short and long sentence in their calculation of risk.
  • Increasing the probability of being caught does deter crime. Police visibility directly impacts a likely offender’s perception that they will get caught.
  • Leniency for first-time, non-violent offenders also reduces recidivism by ~50%. Entering first-time offenders into the prison system introduces them to a network of criminals, while limiting their ability to earn a living upon release.
  • Similarly, housing, food stamps, and other social aid programs provide legitimate resources that give adults a stake in the system, and reduce the likelihood of criminal offenses.
  • Increasing access to mental health resources reduces violent crime.
  • Summer Youth Employment Programs also reduce violent crime. Not only do summer jobs provide a legitimate means of earning a living, they introduce teens to positive adult mentors in the workforce.

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