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Social Trends in American LifeFindings from the General Social Survey since 1972$
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Peter V. Marsden

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691133317

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691133317.001.0001

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Crime, Punishment, and Social Disorder

Crime, Punishment, and Social Disorder

Crime Rates and Trends in Public Opinion over More Than Three Decades

Chapter:
(p.146) 6 Crime, Punishment, and Social Disorder
Source:
Social Trends in American Life
Author(s):

James D. Wright

Jana L. Jasinski

Drew Noble Lanier

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691133317.003.0006

In 1980, Arthur Stinchcombe, Tom Smith, Garth Taylor, and several additional coauthors published Crime and Punishment—Changing Attitudes in America. The book reviewed public opinion data from the first five or six waves of the General Social Survey (GSS), plus a large number of pre-GSS polls and surveys dating back to the 1930s, all dealing with attitudes of the American public toward crime, punishment, and social disorder. This chapter revisits the principal findings, themes, and conclusions of Crime and Punishment in light of what is now 30-plus years worth of GSS data. In addition, for the first time since Crime and Punishment was published, the United States has recently experienced a sharp decline in crime rates that began in about 1994 and continued for a decade. Thus, the chapter also explores the apparent effects of declining crime rates on Americans' attitudes about crime, punishment, and related matters.

Keywords:   public opinion, General Social Survey, crime rates, punishment, social order, American public

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