A recent q asks What has caused the steep increase in violent crime in Baltimore over the last decade?

The argument for this being on topic is that

Government actions and policies obviously can impact crime rates in many ways both good and bad.

The same line of reasoning is alas true for almost anything. So valid questions for polics SE??

  • What has caused climate change?
  • What has caused [the] Covid-19 [pandemic]?
  • What caused World War I?
  • What caused the Great Depression?
  • Why did people go to the moon?
  • Why do some places make you poor? (Yeah, I'm not kidding.)
  • Why is theft from supermakets more prevalent among rich people in a certain country?
  • Why has immigration gone up or down (in some country, in some period)?
  • Why is there less/more hunting done (in some country, in some period)?
  • Why has air (or water) pollution gone up or down (in some country, in some period)?
  • Why have abortions gone up or down (in some country, in some period)?
  • Why is there a surge of infections (of some kind, in some area)?

Etc. Where do you draw the line in asking broad "why" questions where politics may have been a factor?

1 Answer 1


Crime statistics in themselves are not about politics and political processes (unless, perhaps, if the perpetrators are politicians or if we are talking about political crimes). Yes, they might be relevant for political decisions, but almost everything is in some way relevant for political decision making. If we use that as a measure for what's on-topic, then what isn't on-topic?

The question might be on-topic if there is reason to believe that the reasons for the numbers developing that way are political in nature (or at least macroeconomical, which is also on-topic).

But I don't think that presenting a statistic and then asking for the reasons for the numbers being that way is a useful question for the Stack Exchange in general. The problem is that answers will usually be speculative. You might find a correlation with some political actions, but correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

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