Maybe you have heard of the 80-20 rule. It’s a pretty basic concept that states 80 percent of all outcomes are derived from 20 percent of causes. It even has a name, the Pareto principle or Pareto distribution.
In my consulting business, I was always amazed at how closely the 80-20 rule would describe reality. Eighty percent of your sales come from the top 20 percent of your customers. This was true in every company for which I ever worked. It might be 75- 25 or 85-15 but if you want a good estimation of most things, 80-20 is a good place to start.
Eighty percent of all chocolate is consumed by 20 percent of consumers. Eighty percent of all booze is consumed by the top 20 percent of consumers. Eighty percent of all auto accidents are caused by 20 percent of the drivers. It’s just the way it works.
So if you want to have the maximum impact with the least effort, you focus on those 20 percent.
One area where this concept falls apart is crime, especially violent crime. If violent crime followed the same pattern, 20 percent of the criminals would commit 80 percent of the crimes.
But it is far more skewed than that. It’s more like five percent of criminals committing 95 percent of the violent crimes. From a crime fighting perspective this is actually good news. By focusing on this five percent—and taking them off the streets—a huge reduction in violent crime is possible. It’s really quite simple.
You would weep—then spit and curse—when realizing how small a slice of the population commit the vast majority of all rapes. All these women’s lifelong pain, anguish, and fear can be traced to a miniscule percentage of criminals.
And although it is anecdotal, it seems more and more liberals are tired of having their street-parked cars broken into. In many of these neighborhoods, it seems it is a 100 percent probability and one that will be burgled over and over again. Again, these victims would weep—then curse—if they knew how small of a group of criminals are committing almost all of this mayhem.
But the solution is very straightforward. There is no philosophy to it. No “root causes” B.S. Just mathematics.
If you want to reduce crime, take the 5 percent off the streets and it is a certainty that crime will fall by a tremendous amount.
It’s no more complicated than that. If politicians don’t take this surefire, science-bound way to reduce crime and protect citizens, one must ask them what their true goals are—because reducing crime and protecting the vulnerable certainly isn’t one of them.