What noteworthy criminal incidents or activities occurred during the last half century, and what social and economic conditions might have produced them?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is very hard to decide which noteworthy criminal incidents or activities to include since there have been so many since 1963.  I will focus on three criminal activities or trends rather than on any specific incidents.  These activities are the rise of illegal drugs, increases in identity theft, and the riots that occurred with some regularity in the 1960s.

It is possible to connect the illegal drug trade and the riots that occurred in the ‘60s.  Both of these were caused, in part, by the same factors.  For both of these, part of the cause was the lack of economic opportunity in the inner cities.  Most of these inner cities were and are populated by non-white people.  The riots were caused in large part by their frustration over a lack of economic opportunity and a lack of social equality.  The drug trade can be seen as a response to the lack of economic opportunity as well.

A very different sort of criminal activity is identity theft.  This is largely a crime of the 21st century.  The condition that has been most important in bringing about this sort of crime is the rise of computers and the internet.  Before the late 1990s, there was not enough usage of the internet to make cybercrimes like identity theft possible.  Today, so much business is conducted online that computerized identity theft is a major criminal activity.

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