Times change and so do crimes, ultimately affecting New York legislative history. A new report from the F.B.I. shows that crime rates continue to decrease in the U.S. In 2010, murder declined 4.4%; robbery was down 9.5%; and aggravated assault decreased 3.6% since 2009. The question is why the downward trend, especially during the bad economy, when crimes usually increase?
Ohio State University Professor Douglas Berman suggests that our contemporary moment holds a few of the clues as to why: modern technology brings people indoors making them less prone to neighborhood violence; doctors diagnose children with conditions that left untreated might otherwise lead them to grow up to be criminals; and the Heller gun rights decision (2008), which has led to an upsurge in sales and has changed the way criminals may act before and after purchasing a gun.
With fewer crimes, it will be that much more important to understand precedent. That’s where legislative history comes in. Legislative history research makes it easier to see what has happened in the past in terms of a specific case.
So as the United States and especially New York, which has greatly lowered its crime rate over the past decades, becomes more like Switzerland, legislative bill tracking will become that much more important.