Breaking News
Tuesday, 5 June 2012

I recently acquired this little gem: How to Protect Yourself from Crime (1975) by Ira A. Lipman.  The book itself was only moderately interesting, and I'll post a few of the illustrations here.  While lackluster in content, it got me thinking about The Question of the Ages: whether the 1970s experienced worse crime than we know today.

Crime statistics are notoriously difficult to quantify.  Many incidences are not reported, and with thousands and thousands of individual sheriff's offices and local PDs, it makes it nearly impossible to get good numbers - especially as far back as the seventies, before data was entered into any sort of database.

One thing was for certain, there was a definite spike in crime during the seventies.  Naturally, with Boomers reaching an age range that more typically commit crimes, and with a massive overall population increase, you'd expect crime to get worse...... but not this bad.  It took everyone aback.  "Mugging" was a common topic of conversation - a mere ten years prior, mugging was essentially nonexistent. In 1965 you could live at ease with doors unlocked; in '75 people wouldn't dream of it in urban centers.

The Serial Killer suddenly found a home on the nightly news.  Ted Bundy, Henry Lee Lucas, John Wayne Gacy, and The Son of Sam showed Americans how far into the morass we'd traveled.  Add to that, blackouts in NYC and movies like Death Wish and Dirty Harry in every theater - and you've got a recipe for widespread paranoia.  Whether it was an exaggerated anxiety, or a rational and healthy fear is anyone's guess.

From Chapter 19: Defenses Against Rape
Perhaps we should clear up a few misconceptions first.  Rape is not a crime of the black man attacking the white woman.  In a study conducted in the District of Columbia, the victim and the assailant were of the same race in seven out of every eight assaults.
From Chapter 14: Vacations and Business Trips
Your tastes om vacation spots may run more to the bright lights and activity of the resort than the comfortable isolation of the campsite.  Marauding bears may be a rarity on the beach, but not human wolves and jackals.  Pimps, hustlers, deviates, robbers, strong arms, organized criminals, con men, addicts, shake down artists, pickpockets and all types of plain and fancy hoodlums haunt these areas.
If you are going to devote an evening to a round of nigh clubbing or day to a shopping trip, take the suggestions of the hotel manager or desk clerk, rather than a taxi driver or the cocktail waitress in a topless bar.


Post a Comment