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Searching for Safety: Violent Crime Control and Strain Reduction in the Era of Google

Megan Stubbs-Richardson, Austin Cosby, Karissa Bergene, and Arthur Cosby

The role of the Internet and its effect on crime trends is largely unknown. Researchers have documented how the Internet presents opportunities for cybercrime, with little research considering its role in crime prevention. However, one study found Google searches for crime prevention to be associated with property crime reduction in the U.S. (Stubbs-Richardson, Cosby, Bergene, & Cosby). Using the publicly available data sources Google Correlate and Uniform Crime Reports of violent crime, this work extends previous research by investigating whether crime prevention searches are associated with violent crime reductions at the state-level. The present study’s data collection is informed via situational crime prevention, community and crime, and General Strain Theory. Results show significant associations between violent crime reduction and crime prevention searches.

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Has the power of the Internet been a factor in crime reduction?

Megan Stubbs-Richardson – Feb. 1, 2019

One of the most challenging questions for criminologists is explaining how and why crime rates have plummeted. While there are many factors that explain drops in crime, a recent article published in Crime Science introduces a new question. Has the power of the Internet been a factor? Authors have focused on the impact of perhaps the most influential platform online, the Google Search Engine.

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