LaFree, Gary D.: Legitimacy and Crime
Ineke Haen Marshall
Crime rates in the United States started to climb rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s and remained high through the mid-to late 1980s, making the United States’ level of crime (particularly violent crime) exceptionally high compared to other western countries. During that time period, many criminologists tried to explain why the United States appeared to be so much more vulnerable to crime compared to other countries. However, when starting in the late 1980s crime rates in the United States started to drop significantly, the same criminologists scratched their heads in disbelief and scrambled to explain this unanticipated “crime drop” (Marshall, 1996). LaFree's Losing Legitimacy , published in 1998, represents one of the more recent attempts by American scholars to relate crime trends over the last half of the 20th century to other social trends. In the 50 years following World War II, street crime rates in the United States increased ...