More smartphones = fewer homicides

A criminologist attributes the decline of homicides in major cities to the proliferation of smartphones:

Just as mobile technology has transformed ordinary commerce, it has revolutionized illicit markets, too, making the drug trade more predictable and less lethal. GPS mapping, encrypted communications and messaging apps have vastly reduced the need for drug dealers to physically control urban spaces and defend them with deadly force, experts say.

“The technology of retail drug dealing has shifted radically, especially over the past 10 years,” said Mark Kleiman, a criminologist at New York University. “It’s no longer people standing on street corners. It’s hand-to-hand transactions between people with cellphones, and they’re not vulnerable in the same way.”

Added Kleiman: “It’s also harder for police to disrupt.”