Talk:Lead-crime hypothesis

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Pencil lead is graphite not lead.[edit]

There is no lead in pencils. You could google it. — Unsigned, by: / talk 11:32, 1 June 2015

Right, which is why the article's second line says as much... ScepticWombat (talk) 12:36, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

Evidence Against[edit]

"The cause of the rise in crime between the 1960s and the mid 1990s is unknown. Any claim as to why it declined is suspect because it isn't known what the cause of the rise was to begin with. While urbanization contributed to the rise in crime, even within cities of the same size, crime rates tripled between the 1950s and the 1970s for unknown reasons."

Do we have a cite for this? The last time I looked into US crime rates, the source I read claimed that juvenile crime rates (at least) had been in a steady decline since the 1950s. I guess if the tripling was caused by oldsters with their veins running with pure lead the two could be reconciled, but that seems unlikely. In particular, the 'crime rose since the golden age of the 50s' smells a bit fishy. Can we back this up? Queexchthonic murmurings 15:12, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

I think there's not a specific cite for that. It's more like an absence of definitive proof of the opposite. The lead-crime association is, in the end, consistent with the evidence but not proven to be causally related. As for juvenile crime, I think (weak memory) the idea is that lead impairs development such that lead-affected crime-prone kids are just less likely to grow up into responsible adults. MarmotHead (talk) 15:32, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Oh, I get that, it just that the article currently makes the specific claim 'crime rates tripled between the 1950s and the 1970s' which I'm not sure is accurate. Ah- some googling turned up supporting evidence in something called a Unified Crime Report from the FBI (modulo the usual boilerplate) although it's only at wp ( so it would be nice to get a link for the source directly. I notice that this figure uses absolute numbers, so it should really be corrected for population changes. So this made me suspicious of the claim I read about juvenile crime so I went looking for data on that, but even the official website only goes back to 1980, which doesn't really answer the question. Rates since 1980 appear to peak slightly at 1996, then decline, but tbh it could still be concomitant with a long-term decline since the 50s. Again, these are absolute numbers, which makes me shake my head in dismay. Queexchthonic murmurings 15:42, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
I might be the original writer of the tripling sentence and thus, an error-creator. I remember being persuaded by the fancy stats (it's my day job) in some of the linked articles such that I might have become too casual with the basic facts. MarmotHead (talk) 16:21, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

1996 News Analysis article implication cited in second graph has to go[edit]

The inclusion of this simply makes no sense with current data: "Demographic change - specifically, a reduction in crime-prone young males - was once proposed as a cause of the drop and forecast to cause increased crime in 2010, but it did not.[4] " There are a many other postulated reasons for the effect cited and certainly many scientifically established as causative reasons, not the least of which is a quadrupling of the incarceration of that population. Also the proportion of black males with an high school educated father and mother increased, the proportion with a college educated mother and father increased, the average education level of the black males themselves increased, and high school dropout rate of black males decreased from 20% to 7%. The small portion committing crime became much much more likely to be incarcerated and not committing crime, and the majority not commit crime had MANY factors that are known to drive crime commission rates were reduced. This goes to a general problem with this article, competing reasons for the increase ad decrease in crime in the at risk population, many of them established as causative and not simply correlative, are not well addressedJaviar 36 (talk) 06:40, 12 March 2016 (UTC)

You're right. There are a LOT of potential reasons for the change. This article focuses on a hypothesis and discusses some of the evidence for/against the hypothesis. The discussion of alternate causes just focuses on the main points and neglect the nuance and complexity. I'm not sure how to add nuance without exponentially increasing the length and making it less readable. MarmotHead (talk) 23:28, 12 March 2016 (UTC)
Even if a given hypothesis is clearly bollocks, it should be mentioned (as bollocks) if it's one that's been touted in public to a sufficient degree that a reader might have heard of it and be looking for refutations. (I don't know the area, but Javiar seems to.) - David Gerard (talk) 21:39, 13 March 2016 (UTC)

Gun Control: Swizerland and weapon ownership[edit]

"Switzerland, which has about 70% as many guns as the US on a per-capita basis"

Misleading. Switzerland has a militia army. Conscription means that all healthy men between 18 and 34 do military service (voluntary for women). All of these --- every single one of these --- are issued assault rifles or pistols. These weapons outnumber all the hunters' and sports' weapons combined by a large amount. And that is with target shooting being a popular national sport.

No weapon may be carried on the street. You only get a permit to carry (never mind concealed carry) if you are a security specialist --- and pass both theoretical and practical exams. Sport shooters are only allowed to carry the gun to firing ranges and back, with the munition separate. "Self protection" is no reason to own a gun (never mind carry), unless you are, say, a money transporter.

Also, people are advised by the military to e.g. store the pistol and it's barrel at different places in the house. So anyone breaking in cannot use the pistol against his victims.

On top of that, while the soldiers historically had ammunition in the home --- so whatever any invader would do, soldiers ready to fight would be about everywhere they didn't wipe off the map. (The Swizz have lots of nuclear bunkers and houses built to withstand the kind of firestorms that wrecked German cities in WWII.) --- in 2007 it was decided to keep all ammunition in central magazines and not have them at home. (Except a few that for an immediate defence for infrastructure critical to an invader, like airports.) The no-ammo rule has had very strong effects on domestic violence gun use. While soldiers were routinely buying their weapon, this too has changed.

A shooting range that sells ammunition will count each shot fired and demand every unused cartridge back, no ammunition may leave the range. And even if you had the weapon and the ammunition, you are not allowed to use it against an intruder. The military weapon is to defend Switzerland, not your home. And after all, Swiss neutrality has been based a lot on 'you can try, but we are prepared, we will fight back, and you likely will not win' --- e.g. shooting down planes from both sides during WWII if they stray into their airspace.

Sources: — Unsigned, by: / talk 11:08, 3 March 2018 (UTC)


For those who read the title as 'leed' rather than 'led (metal)' perhaps a link to Broken windows theory? Anna Livia (talk) 10:01, 13 June 2018 (UTC)