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Can Games Play Role in Reducing Crime?

A recent report by BBC mentions 10 possible reasons that have reduced crime rates for past 20 years in United States. Some reasons are pretty obvious like good police work and the fall in demand for crack cocaine. But one of the reasons why games are playing an important role in reducing crimes is the increasing popularity and reach of video games industry.

A study released last month suggested video games were keeping young people off the streets and therefore away from crime. Researchers in Texas working with the Centre for European Economic Research said this “incapacitation effect” more than offset any direct impact the content of the games may have had in encouraging violent behaviour.

Although they haven’t presented any statistical analysis regarding this point but it logically seems to be valid. “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop” and if games keep people specially the young generation busy in their leisure time then it is given that we will see less of street crime. The point to note is, the focus is on young generation. Does that mean young generation is solely responsible for street crimes ? that is debatable.

While the study shows the video games may be reducing the street crimes and crime rate overall, some analysts believe that games spread violence and cite examples of some horror games that are actually quite violent.

We can’t deny the argument but publishers never recommend that a 10 year old should play Manhunt or Dead Space. So the probability of games being the major cause of violence is least. What are your thoughts on it?