© 2017

Re-Examining The Crime Drop


  • Presents a new method for examining the crime drop, based on ideas from political science and comparative historical social science

  • Offers an overview of crime drop literature including the common debates and causes

  • Concludes by extending analysis to countries including the US, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden


Part of the Critical Criminological Perspectives book series (CCRP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Stephen Farrall
    Pages 1-8
  3. Stephen Farrall
    Pages 9-25
  4. Stephen Farrall
    Pages 81-102
  5. Stephen Farrall
    Pages 103-107
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 109-116

About this book


The crime drop is one of the most important puzzles in contemporary criminology: since the early-1990s many countries appear to exhibit a pronounced decline in crime rates. While there have been many studies on the topic, this book argues that the current crime drop literature relies too heavily on a single methodological approach, and in turn, provides a new method for examining the falling rates of crime, based on ideas from political science and comparative historical social science. 
Farrall’s original new research forwards an understanding of trends in crime and responses to them by questioning the received theoretical assumptions. The book therefore encourages a ‘deepening’ in the nature of the sorts of studies which have been undertaken so far. Firmly grounded in Political Science, this innovative study is a must read for scholars of Critical Criminology, Criminological Theory, and Politics.


Crime trends criminal justice historical analysis social sciences politics responses to crime crime decline British politics epistemology institutionalism Thatcherism neo-liberalism neo-conservativism 1980s New Right

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of SheffieldSheffieldUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Stephen Farrall is Professor of Criminology in the Centre for Criminological Research at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Bibliographic information


“Farrall … examines the theoretical and empirical dimensions of political scientists' efforts to assess how political processes engage ‘crime drops’ (or reductions in crime). In this engaging account, Farrall focuses primarily on England and Wales but compares his assessment with occurrences and research in Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United States.” (Journal of Community Corrections, Vol. 28 (1), Fall, 2018)“Stephen Farrell offers a thoughtful and informed critique of the assumptions and methods that characterize studies of the contemporary crime drop. No one should ignore his important recommendation to analyze the crime drop in the historical context of the nations where it has occurred.” (Richard Rosenfeld, University of Missouri - St. Louis, USA)