Were cell phones associated with lower crime in the 1990s and 2000s?
Empirical studies of the crime decline of the 1990s and early 2000s have focused on factors such as: incarceration, economy, policing, demographics, security-related technology, and abortion. One recent analysis examined the growth in mobile phone technology, finding tentative support for a deterrent effect, but is in need of expansion and replication. The current study uses national-level data from 1984 to 2009 and performs time-series analysis to examine the relationship between cell phone ownership and a range of crime types. Results indicate a significant, negative relationship between changes in cell phone ownership rates and changes in the property crime index, even with controls for relevant crime-drop variables, but a very minimal relationship to the violent crime index. Implications and directions for future research are noted.
Journal of Crime and Justice
Causes and Prevention of Crime