The Denver Post reports on January 4, 2010 that the murder rate in Denver is at its lowest level since 2000, following a national trend. This information surprises law enforcement officials around the country to some extent because during periods of recession murder rates (and crime in general) increases. Experts warn that we may yet see some impact if the effects of the recession worsen or do not diminish significantly during 2010.
The Post quotes Dr. Jeff London, assistant professor of criminology at Metro State College in Denver, who connects the drop in some measure to the aging Boomer population, noting that people “age out.” He has studied the high crime rates during the 1970s, when Boomers were in their youth. London also agrees with Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates that stronger policing methods and crime investigation approaches have also contributed
A CNN report as long ago as 1997 began noting the decline in crime rates, linking aging Boomers to the trend even then. In spite of these declines, however, the U.S. still ranks 24th with 0.042802 murders per 1000 people, just behind Bulgaria and slightly better than Armenia. Colombia ranks number 1 with 0.617847 murders per 1000 people. The average age of the U.S. inmate is 38, well below the youngest Boomers turning 46 this year.
A study published in the Californian Journal of Health Promotion in 2005 underscored that as inmates age prisons must confront yet another significant issue, health care. This research noted at the time that just as Boomers have had an impact on all aspects of society and culture (e.g., schools, neighborhoods, workplaces) over the years because of the sheer numbers, so, too, can large numbers be found in prisons. The study suggests that the number of new Boomer offenders is dropping, although the number of Boomers incarcerated is high as many of them were imprisoned in their youth and are now aging. Additionally, poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, addictions and risky behaviors will affect the quality of life and the way in which inmates age. Authors Kuhlmann and Rudell note that several prisons in the study were already having difficulty complying with accessibility guidelines outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). An article published on WCFCourier.com in Iowa in July 2009 confirms that one of the factors contributing to the decline in prison populations in the state is related to the aging population.
Boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964. In 2011 the first of the Boomers will turn 65, becoming eligible for Medicare. The video clip below discusses what scholars are learning about new roles for Boomers.
Kathryn writes and speaks on issues related to aging, disabilities, caregiving, mobility and independence. Subscribe or comment by choosing the appropriate buttons at the top of the article. Contact Kathryn for comments and suggestions on topics.