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      Author : Allan Abrahamse

        While California’s homicide arrest rate could nearly double in the next twentyfive years, this is only one of several possibilities. The future depends on a key uncertainty: whether today’s children will become more violent than today’s adolescents. Any estimate of future homicide arrest rate depends heavily on assumptions about how violent future birth cohorts will be. A pessimistic assumption is that from 1977 on, children born each year will face age-specific homicide arrest rates that are 3 percent higher than the preceding year’s birth cohort. Such a 3 percent annual rise is not without precedent: it has occurred in particular cohorts for a few years at a time. But such a rise has never been seen in many cohorts for many years. This assumption can be regarded as a reasonable upper bound (even though a higher rate cannot be completely ruled out). An alternative possibility points to a more optimistic future for California. If arrest rates decline by 1 percent in each successive birth cohort, the homicide arrest rate will be about 14 percent lower in 2021 than today. An annual 1 percent decline is not without precedent either, although it has never been sustained for long periods.

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