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Video games reduce crime

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I had this in yesterday’s ION – but I figure it’s worth a full post; Apparently the rise in popularity of video games is cited as one of the possible reasons for the sharp decline in crime rates in the US. Researchers working with the Centre for European Economic Research conducted a study in April this year has discredited the popular notion that playing video games increases violent behaviour, suggesting that gaming keeps people occupied and off the streets- resulting in lower crime.

The study, titled “Understanding the Effects of Violent Videogames on Violent Crime,” claims that the increase in sales of violent games is directly proportional with the decrease in reported violent crime over the same period. The reason? Violent sociopaths are too busy killing and maiming virtual people in a video game setting to go out and do it in real life.

“We argue that since laboratory experiments have not examined the time use effects of videogames, which incapacitate violent activity by drawing individual gamers into extended gameplay, laboratory studies may be poor predictors of the net effects of violent videogames in society,”says the report’s author, economist Michael Ward “Consequently, they overstate the importance of videogame induced aggression as a social cost.” Perhaps they’re not murder simulators, but rather murder emulators, eh Jack? I’m sure many of you play violent games to take the edge off, relieve stress and ensure you don’t go about kicking puppies and pushing old ladies down flights of stairs.

Other reasons cited include the “Obama effect,” where young African Americans, inspired and motivated by a black presidency, turn away from social ills to better their standing; the fall in demand of crack cocaine; smarter policing; lower levels of lead in petrol and even the proliferation of cell phone cameras.

I wonder if mass penetration of video games could lead to similar drops in violent crime locally? Something tells me all it would lead to is more stolen video games.

Source : BBC

Last Updated: June 22, 2011

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