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Did Video Games Contribute to the Decline in the Crime Rate?

Christine Lusey 2011/06/24 19:00:00
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The last 20 years in America saw a sharp drop in the crime rate. And according to the FBI, the last two years, despite the harsh economic conditions, continued the trend. What gives? One surprising theory has video games playing a positive role in crime reduction.

A BBC article posits various theories for the drop, including a rise in the use of potentially incriminating camera phones, a fall in the demand for crack cocaine and an increased use of crime mapping computer programs, among others.

Also included is a reference to a recent study called "Understanding the Effects of Violent Video Games on Violent Crime," from the University of Texas at Arlington and Baylor University and the Centre for European Economic Research.

The study cites the "voluntary incapacitation" effect - basically, if people are playing video games, they're not out committing crime. And they found that the time spent playing violent games tended to offset any of that oft-speculated aggression that supposedly rouses gamers to commit crimes.

Read More: http://kotaku.com/5814601/violent-video-games-cont...

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Top Opinion

  • Ben 2011/06/24 21:20:05
    Yes
    Ben
    +7
    I saw a thug robbing some guy in an alley one day and then all of a sudden a video game came from around the corner wearing a cape and everything and he captured the robber and flew him to the front of the county jail omg we're saved so yeah video games do stop violent crimes!

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Opinions

  • jokeriser 2011/06/27 05:24:27
    Yes
    jokeriser
    +1
    god bless our ADD and abiltility to procrostinate
  • 13_JunkyardDog 2011/06/26 20:43:23
    Yes
    13_JunkyardDog
    +3
    more kids inside playing wow, less outside stealing from liquor stores. For me its either video games on the weekends with my room mates or going to frat parties, so i choose playing nazi zombies
  • Minxy 2011/06/26 20:14:18
    Undecided
    Minxy
    +1
    I think that depends on the person playing and what game it is .
  • Yes
    ♥♥Hearts♥♥Of♥♥Hearts♥♥
    +1
    No one has lives anymore lol
  • billycat98 2011/06/26 15:35:47
    Yes
    billycat98
    +1
    video games have viloence so they can be vilont on video games not real life
  • imokay 2011/06/26 15:20:26
    Yes
    imokay
    +2
    It's a good way to vent one's anger. I'm not entirely sure if they help decline the crime rate, but they sure as hell don't make it go up.
  • Sophia Eulalia 2011/06/26 15:00:41 (edited)
    Undecided
    Sophia Eulalia
    +1
    Psh. Can't the "experts" make up their minds? A few years ago, if you asked them, they would have told you video games make people more violent. I think some people are susceptible to the influence video games have, and others work off their aggression by playing them. There could be any number of factors involved in decreasing crime rate - while I won't rule out the possible influence of video games, I don't think we can give video games all the credit.
  • Lance 2011/06/26 14:32:00
    Yes
    Lance
    +1
    My friend has millions of violent video games, and I witnessed one day him screaming at his girlfriend as she cried.
  • Edible_toad 2011/06/26 07:43:29
    Undecided
    Edible_toad
    +1
    I could believe this.
    A kid comes home angry and goes and kills a whole bunch of people on a first-player shooter game vs. beating up the kid next door (or other person).

    Video games seem like an easier way to release anger without resorting to violent crime.
  • myhouseinthewoods 2011/06/26 04:52:12
    No
    myhouseinthewoods
    +1
    lol crazy to think that a video game would
  • safari 2011/06/26 02:06:47
    Undecided
    safari
    +2
    It is an interesting speculation and if we think it works lets send some to the Muslim countries by the plane loads.

    interesting speculation works send muslim countries plane loads muslim violence
  • GlitterBaby 2011/06/26 02:04:09
  • JB Lover 2011/06/26 01:56:30
    No
    JB Lover
    +1
    HECK No
  • Died 2011/06/26 00:21:10
  • Died Died 2011/06/26 00:22:16
  • MOMMA THOMAS 2011/06/25 23:24:16
    No
    MOMMA THOMAS
    +2
    TOO BUSY PLAYIN' GAMES? ...ALSO A DECLINE IN HOMEWORK. ....A DECLINE IN BIRTHRATES? ....A DECLINE IN IQ SCORES. ......WHAT ELSE CAN WE ADD TO THE DECLINE LIST?
  • Sadisticon MOMMA T... 2011/06/27 00:15:15
    Sadisticon
    A decline in rational discussions?
  • MOMMA T... Sadisticon 2011/06/27 00:30:38
    MOMMA THOMAS
    +1
    TRUE! ....OR NO DISCUSSIONS AT ALL!
  • Lord of War 2011/06/25 22:30:59
    Yes
    Lord of War
    +4
    theres nothing like being online shooting other people online
  • 49er 2011/06/25 21:57:39
    No
    49er
    +1
    because more lower class minorities are becoming more excepted.
  • King of the woodland realm 2011/06/25 21:45:22
    Undecided
    King of the woodland realm
    +1
    i dont know, im not an expert... u.u
  • SeaSparkzz 2011/06/25 20:17:10
    Yes
    SeaSparkzz
    +3
    Playing video games to release aggression is quite common.
  • Junior the Outer Space Musi... 2011/06/25 18:18:00
    Yes
    Junior the Outer Space Music Man
    +1
    After all, video games are a release. Not one I'd recommend, but still a release.
  • Just Je... Junior ... 2011/06/26 03:55:57
    Just Jenn for Now
    +2
    Agreed. People can disagree, but they're usually the ones that don't play video games, so they don't know.
  • Josh Malchman 2011/06/25 16:54:33
    Yes
    Josh Malchman
    +3
    They have done so many studies trying to connect video games to violent tendencies, and not one test has shown viable proof of any connection in a negative light. Improved hand eye coordination has been shown. they are even used in Physical Therapy in some cases like wii sports in order to improve mobility and flexibility in the arms of adolescents. I Dont know if it necessarily contributed to the decline but it certainly didnt and hasnt made it worse. All these ignorant theocratic politicians need to shut their yaps about how kids are becoming more messed up or more aggressive because of games. I dont play them but all the ignorance and control laws seem ridiculous and they dont work
  • Quantum 2011/06/25 16:35:01
    Yes
    Quantum
    +2
    Video games are a release of anger that is healthy.
  • onebad 2011/06/25 16:10:29
  • William Weber 2011/06/25 14:56:14
    Yes
    William Weber
    +3
    How can you commit a crime,when your playing GTA all day gaining 50 pounds.Most of those people couldnt even walk 5 feet let alone assault someone.
  • Sadisticon William... 2011/06/27 00:16:47
    Sadisticon
    LOL. I wanted to say that (but look at my lame ass comment!).
  • Scott 2011/06/25 12:51:14
    Yes
    Scott
    +2
    The irony of it is that it's probably true.
  • Sahara 2011/06/25 12:32:53
    No
    Sahara
    +1
    What if you come from a poor family and you dont even own a video game and you start robbing people to get money? how do explain rape? Do porn videos reduce rape too??? robbing people money explain rape porn videos reduce rape rape
  • Mantic Sahara 2011/06/26 02:26:45
    Mantic
    The argument is that adolescents (the so-called 'juvenile delinquents') who from about 1950 to 1990 were constantly increasing in violent and destructive criminal behaviour, may have found a virtual outlet for that violent/destructive energy in video games, accounting for a verifiable marked decrease in such crimes over the last couple of decades.

    This is not about starving kids stealing or robbing to feed themselves. That kind of thing was much more prevalent before the 1950s and decreased afterward. If anything, the juvenile delinquency and gang activity of the 50s-80s was more often among kids who were not that bad off.

    I realize the issue is not black and white, however... if some kind of ennui is a motive for juvenile violent/destructive crime, video games may be filling that hole.

    The inverse porn/commercial sex trade to rape/sex offense correlation argument is out there, too. I'm sure you've seen that.
  • Gordonfraemun 2011/06/25 11:46:50
    Yes
    Gordonfraemun
    +3
    Potential murderers are confined to screaming at people over ventrilo. Good thing for the populace, bad thing for the gamers.
  • lawlerskates 2011/06/25 11:44:46
    No
    lawlerskates
    +1
    Probably not.
  • KendraTaylor 2011/06/25 10:45:28
    No
    KendraTaylor
    +1
    See the thing with video games is that it is a correlation with violence/aggression NOT a causation. So, that is to say that if someone is an aggressive person, they wouldn't simply be able to play a video game and feel better, if anything -as with most cases- violent video games will give them ideas. It all depends on the individual rather than the video games themselves.
  • Mantic KendraT... 2011/06/26 02:36:14
    Mantic
    You speculate. The evidence (adolescent violent and destructive crime rates) does not support the notion that kids are getting ideas from games and taking them into the streets.

    It's counter-intuitive, I know. We see the gangbanger culture glorified in all media, including games, and then we see that same kind of activity in the streets. But somehow, on the whole, things aren't as bad as they were back in the 80s and there are less minors committing violent or destructive crimes every year.
  • KendraT... Mantic 2011/06/26 10:28:37
    KendraTaylor
    I do not speculate. there are experiments that show the correlation but not the causation of violence/aggression and media sources such as video game use. And, please reread my statement, I did not say that kids are getting ideas from video games that therefore cause them to re-enact such scenes, but rather, have said that those that are aggressive (have the tendency to be violent) will draw upon video games to incorporate further violent action/fantasy.
  • Mantic KendraT... 2011/06/26 14:59:55 (edited)
    Mantic
    If I'm reading you correctly, that's "aggressive/violent children are demonstrated to be more attracted to virtualized violence?" I'd love to read those studies.

    It sounds sensible enough, but if the virtualization is not then stimulating more aggressive behaviour outside the game, does that not support the possibility that games are helping to keep violent and destructive behaviour off the streets? Presumably a control was done gauging the amount of aggressive behaviour exhibited by the same individuals in the absence of virtualization options, both before and after over significant enough periods to garner an average...?

    Even if it is true that the virtualization is restricting the behaviour there are other mechanisms at work in games... Skinner box methods that would likely encourage more time spent on violent activity in the virtual world than would be exhibited in real world aggression. Kids inclined to acting out violently might also be more prone to video game addiction.
  • Dimitri 2011/06/25 09:35:35
    Undecided
    Dimitri
    +1
    Yeah and drugs and alcohol prevented young sex.
  • A 2011/06/25 07:22:26
    Undecided
    A
    +2
    It's not proven but my thought is, if you get mad, you can take it out on the virtual game people and not on real lives.

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