This book provides the first in-depth portrait of the crime decline in the 1990s and its true significance. Offering the most reliable data available, Franklin E. Zimring documents the decline and casts a critical and unerring eye on current explanations. Zimring demonstrates that both long-standing theories of crime prevention and recently generated theories fall far short of explaining the 1990s drop. There was no magic bullet but instead a combination of factors working in concert rather than a single cause that produced the decline. Further - and happily for future progress - it is clear that declines in the crime rate do not require fundamental social or structural changes. Smaller shifts in policy can make large differences: crime can drop even if there is no major change in the population, the economy or the schools. In this definitive look at the great American crime decline, Franklin E. Zimring finds no pat answers but evidence that even lower crime rates might be in store.