1st Edition

The Myth of the ‘Crime Decline’ Exploring Change and Continuity in Crime and Harm

By Justin Kotzé Copyright 2019
    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    The Myth of the ‘Crime Decline’ seeks to critically interrogate the supposed statistical decline of crime rates, thought to have occurred in a number of predominantly Western countries over the past two decades. Whilst this trend of declining crime rates seems profound, serious questions need to be asked. Data sources need to be critically interrogated and context needs to be provided. This book seeks to do just that.

    This book examines the wider socio-economic and politico-cultural context within which this decline in crime is said to have occurred, highlighting the changing nature and landscape of crime and its ever deepening resistance to precise measurement. By drawing upon original qualitative research and cutting edge criminological theory, this book offers an alternative view of the reality of crime and harm. In doing so it seeks to reframe the ‘crime decline’ discourse and provide a more accurate account of this puzzling contemporary phenomenon. Additionally, utilising a new theoretical framework developed by the author, this book begins to explain why the ‘crime decline’ discourse has been so readily accepted.

    Written in an accessible yet theoretical and informed manner, this book is a must-read for academics and students in the fields of criminology, sociology, social policy, and the philosophy of social sciences.


    Introduction: A Picture in Search of a New Frame

    Chapter One: Constructing the Statistical Quilt for the Comfortable Dream: Exploring the ‘International Crime Decline’

    Chapter Two: Context is Everything

    Chapter Three: Invisible Crimes and Non-Criminalised Harms

    Chapter Four: A View from Life on the Precipice

    Chapter Five: Paradigmatic Dominance and Eyes Wide Shut: Beyond Positivism and Constructionism

    Chapter Six: Dreaming Comfortably: Theorising the ‘Crime Decline’ and Modernity’s Dream Myth



    Justin Kotzé is Senior Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Teesside University. He was awarded his PhD in 2016 and has previously published work in the fields of ex-prisoner reintegration and the historical sublimation of violence. Justin is the co-editor of Zemiology: Reconnecting Crime and Social Harm (2018).