Why Is Crime Down? Is It... Mario Brothers?


People are hot for The New Theories about violent videogames and violent popular art in relation to the crime rate. Already back in 2008, one study thought perhaps “violent films prevent violent crime by attracting would-be assailants and keeping them cloistered in darkened, alcohol-free environs.” Now some are thinking much the same about Grand Theft Auto, et al. (Also probably Mario Brothers. Really do you know what the body count is in Mario, if you count Shellcreepers and Koopa Troopas and whatnot?) Still, the more popular view is still that the insanely high incarceration level is what keeps the current crime rate low-ish. But that sort of neglects the fact that a substantial number of people in American prisons (in state prisons, a full half) aren’t actually violent criminals, right?