Both Charles Murray and I have commented on a friendly disagreement we had on crime and incarceration. But I thought it important to clarify one point: Charles believes that increased imprisonment has been the necessary (but not the sufficient) condition for 100 percent of the drop in violent crime. His argument goes like this: Without the massive increase in incarceration, the most that other measures could have accomplished for violent crime (not property crime) is to have slowed the increase. We wouldn’t have seen a decrease at all. But he does believe some of the factors I cited (like target hardening, an increase in private security, and better policing techniques), in conjunction with incarceration, helped to account for the magnitude of the decrease in violent crime.
While this doesn’t change the thrust of what either of us wrote, it is a point worth underscoring, which I’m delighted to have done.