There are lots of theories about why this happened: the linked article is partial to the idea that most businesses now use better burglar alarms; I am impressed by the thesis that a whole cohort of young people suffered low-level lead poisoning that messed with impulse control.
Some places, especially California, responded to the crime wave by locking up people convicted of minor offenses and throwing away the keys. Politicians competed to be "tough on crime." We ended up with too many dangerous, overcrowded prisons; communities where most of a generation of young men of color were rendered unemployable and unmarriageable outcasts; and unsustainable state and local expenses for incarceration.
This year's Prop. 47 aims to put the state on a different, more realistic, path. According to the New York Times:
Prop. 47 makes sense to me. We overreacted to a few spectacular atrocities then; we can act more sensibly now.
Concurrently, I am intrigued by this chart from Vox:
I'm not sure what people mean by fearing computer hacking: if this means that cyber-warfare could bring down our entire economic infrastructure, I'm on board with this. (And distrustful that our "security" apparatus is on the job.) If it means that someone will hack my computer, I'm not so worried: the social networks I participate in spread my "voluntarily" surrendered information far and wide every day. We seem to have chosen to live with this as a society; presumably we'll somehow find a balance.
I'll cop to being concerned about a break-in to car or house. Both have happened here.
I am not a bit worried about being a victim of terrorism. Could happen, but the likelihood is vanishingly small; that goes double for invasive tropical diseases. We need to grow up and learn to live with these as miniscule background risks.
The items in the 18 percent category -- hate crime, murder, sexual assault -- probably aren't nearly as likely as we fear, but the consequences are so devastating that it isn't crazy to be slightly concerned about them. It is no advertisement for the social conditions that we tolerate that we have to fear these at all. This is not part of the human condition!
Not on this list, but as little controllable as most items on it, I'm afraid of "natural disasters"-- some human-influenced, some not (think earthquake) -- that could completely upend the life I lead and the city in which I live it.
Where do you put your fears?