Use of cell phones cuts crime

Crime in America

Last January we credited the use of cell phones with reductions in crime. We said, “There are some within the crime prevention community who feel that increased use of personal cell phones coincides with national reductions in crime.”

We do not believe our observation was unusual. Throughout criminological history there are those who credit a wide variety of products with contributing to increases or decreases in crime. Increased crime in the 1960’s was connected to the expanding use of home air conditioning. Instead of sitting on our front porches in the evening, we retreated to the filtered air of our living rooms and watched television thus taking thousands of eyes from our streets. There are endless other examples (i.e., automobiles, security systems, etc).

But when we suggested that cell phones have a direct connection to less crime, some thought the concept was silly.

The San Diego Union-Tribune offers this headline, “San Diego’s crime rate at lowest level since 1963.”

The article states “Like big cities across the nation, continues to see its crime rate fall. Last year, the rate was the lowest it has been since 1963, city officials announced Wednesday.

“This is good news for the city of San Diego,” Police Chief William Lansdowne said at a news conference with the mayor and other officials. He called San Diego “one of the safest large cities in America.”

Landsdowne credited the availability of cell phones and people’s willingness to use them to report crime with helping curb crime.

“The community is very quick to respond to crime,” he said. “It’s the cell phone that’s made such a difference. Within seconds, you can get on a phone and a dispatcher has an officer going before you’ve even given your name.”

Our Article:

This is what we wrote in January of 2010 in conjunction with an article on personal crime prevention which resides on the header of Crime in America.Net

If the best crime prevention advice is to be with someone else, and if that’s not possible, then bring along the next best thing; bring your cell phone. Having a cell phone is not a substitute for being with someone else, but it can provide you with a tool or a method to contact with the police “if” it’s used appropriately.

Police and crime prevention practitioners have encouraged the strategic use of cell phones since their inception. We give or loan cell phones to victims of domestic violence and victims of other violent crimes. We teach neighborhood watch and citizens on patrol to call their police liaison officer via cell phones and what to report.

There are some within the crime prevention community who feel that increased use of personal cell phones coincides with national reductions in crime. Although there is no research that substantiates a connection between reduced crime and cell phones, you can search for “crime prevention” and “cell phone” to see examples as to how cell phones are used in crime prevention activities.

Provide every member of your family with a cell phone. If they are old enough to be alone outside the home, then they are old enough for a cell phone. The cell phone may be one of the most important crime prevention tools you can have. Everyone in your family needs to know how to dial 911.

There is more to the article. If interested, see We are happy that Chief Lansdowne agrees with us that cell phones are a powerful weapon against criminal activity.