Rudy Shouldn't Get Credit for Crime Busting

New study argues real victor in war on crime is 70s-era campaign to reduce lead
By J. Kelman,  Newser User
Posted Jul 8, 2007 9:07 AM CDT
New Study Shows High Risk Of Lead Poisoning In NYC Housing   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Rudy Giuliani, who's running for commander-in-chief on his tough-guy cred, can thank early-1970s reductions in lead levels for his crime-busting success, a new study argues. Economist Rick Nevin concludes that the nearly 60% decrease in violent crime during Rudy's stint as mayor is a result of government programs to cut lead poisoning—which has been tied to aggression.

Most experts credit the Giuliani administration with reducing violent crime by targeting general deliquency—the so-called "broken windows" approach. But Nevin points to similar declines in nine other countries; in each, crime levels dropped dramatically as kids who'd grown up with lower exposure came of age. "It is stunning how strong the association is," he says. (Read more Rudy Giuliani stories.)