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Evolution of Humanity Since 1970

Updated on January 22, 2015

The world is a very different place since the days of my youth in the 1970s. It seemed to be a safer place, being populated with more good people than bad apples. Children roamed every neighborhood, playing out side from sunrise to sunset, and no one ever heard of one of us being abducted.

I never needed a key to our house as a latchkey kid because the front door was always left unlocked. No one came into our house and ransacked it for any valuables. In fact, if by some chance we may have accidentally left the front door open, a neighbor would come over and close it for us. Later on that evening, that same neighbor would stop over and talk with us, not only about the front door, but also to see how the family was doing. People cared about one another.

Did I live in an isolated community that was safe from the evils of the world?

And if the world was a much better and moral place, what happened?

These two questions form the foundation of understanding that will show the reasons behind the evolution of humanity since 1970.

Oh To My Dismay

When I started this article, I thought for sure that once I did my research on the nationwide statistics that they would show lower overall crime in the 1970s compared to today. This would answer my first question of whether or not I lived in an isolated community. I was convinced I didn't. The statistics, however, are a bit eye-opening.

Data From Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics

Year 1970 - Violent Crime
Corresponding Rate
Year 2012 - Violent Crime Rates
Year 1970 - Property Crime
Corresponding Rate
Year 2012 Rates
Violent Crime
Property Crime
Aggravated Assault
Motor Vehicle Theft

A Look at the Results

These are the official figures from the federal government listing these statistics since 1960. In accordance to my own belief, violent crime in general is up, but contrarily, individual crimes and especially property crimes have gone down since the 1970s. In fact, crime was even more prevalent during the Decade of Disco than our Age of Social Media.

Perhaps I did live in an isolated community that was sheltered away from the evils of this world. I do remember when the day came that a home robbery occurred in the neighborhood. Word spread fast about this crime and from that day forward our worlds changed. Everyone had keys made for their front doors for themselves and their children. Cars were soon being locked up as well because whoever was doing these acts began focusing on our vehicles. So now the better question might be:

Do any of these crime-free communities still exist or has literally everyone been affected by the consequences and catastrophes of criminals?

The Case of George Zimmerman

Aggravated Assault on the Rise

You will notice from the statistics that overall violent crime has gone up since 1970, but crimes individually are going down. This may very well be from the size of our police force making a strong presence which would naturally deter folks. It is interesting that aggravated assault is the only crime that is on the rise. We are hearing more and more about these types of cases, one of the latest ones involves the man George Zimmerman and his attack on a young man who was wearing a hoodie and walking through his neighborhood. Senseless crimes with the intent to kill with a weapon are on the rise - why might that be?

Crime's Evolution

We know from the statistics that crime was even more prevalent in the 1970s than it is today. It may have stemmed from higher drug use (is this even true?) or the fact that we had less police officers back then to prevent crime. I am sure our technology and social media have played into the statistics and outcome of crime because exposure is instantaneous.

One thing to consider is that crime does tend to ebb and flow throughout history. The figures available run us through 2012, but what about the last two years? We are all familiar with Ferguson and how interesting that Mr. Zimmerman was arrested there back in August for the very same law violation he was put on trial for in Florida and acquitted. From my own experiences in the community property thefts, assaults, and especially murders are dramatically on the rise. My family is seriously considering how much longer we will be living in the city before relocating to a more rural setting.



A Breach of Values?

Our values are very different now than they were up through the 1970s. We treat people we do not know differently because our worlds have become totally about ourselves. Charities are suffering from the lack of philanthropy. Road rage is at an all-time high with many drivers maneuvering their cars like idiots down the road, disregarding other lives. There are many aspects to look at with ethics - I'd like to highlight a couple of them as a way to help explain the evolution of humanity and where we may be heading

The Handshake

During the years my parents were growing up a handshake was all that was needed to secure a deal. If a man or woman shook someone else's hand then they were bound by an unspoken contract to keep their word and do exactly as they promised. A person could depend on that. There were no documents needing to be drawn up or contracts forged and signed. This gesture was a firm statement of a person's character and moral values.

Those days are essentially over and it is a shame that keeping your word has for the most part been dissolved by greed and selfish interests. Even contracts drawn up and signed by willing participants are reneged on, oftentimes with the help of a lawyer. Society has become a playground for moral loopholes. Could this lack of accountability be a causation for the increase in aggravated assaults? If O.J. Simpson could avoid murder charges, surely anyone can commit whatever crime they want to against another person. All you need is a good lawyer.

Here is a Tutorial For Handshake Communication

The Roles of Social Media

There was no such thing as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram in the 1970s. Heck, there weren't even any computers available to the world-at-large. If you wanted to talk to someone you could do this by one of three ways - speak with them face-to-face, write them a letter or call them on your land line telephone. I would assert that in many ways life was more genuine because personal contact was just that - personal. People were more direct in their communications and it was expected that any responses would at least be for the most part truthful. This, by no means, is to say that deceptions did not occur. Of course they did. Our ambiguous nature stems all the way back to the days of Adam and Eve with the fall of mankind into sin.


The demoralization of the classical handshake is an example of what happens when folks are no longer held accountable for their actions. In a world where there is no conscience, crime will run rampant. There is a quote attributed to Dostoevsky:

"If God does not exist, everything is permitted."

God is our moral standard of accountability which then affirms this assertion for theism. In the world of social media, however, this concept can be severely neglected and abused. How many of you know someone or more than one person who posts things on Facebook they would never say to someone to their face? Or, do you have a "friend" who portrays a wonderful life online but in reality, they are completely different and many times miserable?

Concluding Thoughts

As a child I am sure my parents chose our neighborhood because it hadn't been inundated with crime. Do these communities still exist today? I believe there may be a few left, existing somewhere within our extreme rural areas. The Amish are a good example of good moral communities, but even they have been detrimentally affected by crime.

I believe crime is in its turning stage to become even more prevalent than it has been in the past several decades. In my city we have already had 15 murders and it's January 22nd. Our loss of values and accountability are fueling this deadly evolution of humanity. I am thankful to have grown up in the 1970s. I am now trying to find ways to make better citizens out of my children in the hopes that my family can at least do their part to try to return back to an age of innocence.

I'm Curious About Your Thoughts

What Is Your Perception of the World Today?

See results

Works Cited


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    • yohewriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Timothy Yohe 

      3 years ago from St. Louis

      Thank you, rainsanmartin, for your observations!

      I completely agree that with media and social media we are saturated with negative events. I try to be cognizant of that fact because how your perception is shaped determines your outlook of the world.

      I think ultimately good and evil ebb and flow back and forth, though I do feel that generally more and more out world is becoming Satan's playground. His influence is getting stronger.

      Writing and speech have taken quite a hit over the past few decades, as I have read the writings of many college students. Quite scary!

      I agree we must forge on and do what we feel we were called to do.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! :)

    • rainsanmartin profile image

      Rain San Martin 

      3 years ago from Fort Wayne

      Timothy, As a young child in the late 1970s, I recall most neighborhood kids had the freedom to play outside for many hours, checking in only to ask if they could go to a friends house. Your stats were eye-opening. I think there are two observations to note. The first being that our perception of safety has been skewed by placing an emphases on worldwide negative news, especially with today's immediate access to information via the internet. The second observation being that mankind's “evolution”, seems to be going in reverse. Texting and slang have usurped the composing of paragraphs and thoughtful speech. The work ethic has declined, as have the development of disciplined skills. Timeless Biblical virtues are falling by the wayside and yes the scent of “End Times” prophecy is in the air. Still we must make hay while the sun shines and forge our life passionately despite our circumstances.

    • yohewriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Timothy Yohe 

      3 years ago from St. Louis

      I agree entirely Sara. It is interesting that your experience in the world has shown that this is not just an issue here in America. We have become far too overprotective of our children, creating the "perfect virtual world" as you have stated. Our social relationships have deeply suffered from our technological progress and fear is permeating our hearts. During the Ferguson crisis that happened 10 miles from my home, we were seriously considering the purchase of a gun. Our mindsets were strongly impacted by this uprising. Although crime is going down our safety feels even more compromised. It is a true shame about the school shooting and my prayers go out to everyone affected. Thank you for sharing your story!

    • Sara Sarwar Riaz profile image

      Sara Sarwar Riaz 

      3 years ago from Michigan, USA

      You touched on a very important topic, something I often ponder over. I spent my childhood in several countries, and have very fond memories of us children playing in the neighborhoods in each one of them. Those were the times of yore… our lives have been complicated now by too many factors, and while telecommunication and social media have introduced convenience and awareness at a whole different level, it has come at the price of secluding ourselves from forming real and trusting relationships. The world is just a scary place to let our children play freely in… we'd rather form a perfect virtual world around them. I spent a major part of my childhood in Pakistan, where we grew up without a worry. Now the parents fear to even send their children to school… who knew, 132 of those innocent souls were not coming back home on Dec 16th, 2014.

    • Pollyanna Jones profile image

      Pollyanna Jones 

      3 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is a really interesting article. The table that illustrates the rates and types of crime is quite surprising. I think our perception of the world has changed since the 1970s; leading us to believe that it is more dangerous and scary than we believed so long ago. We've become more anxious and un-trusting, and I personally feel that it is thanks to news reports and items in the papers that make us feel this way. They only ever seem to focus on the terrible things out in the world.

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 

      3 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      It did seem to be a better time, back in the seventies, when I was growing up. I did, however, live in an isolated community.

      Currently, I live in a small Wyoming town with very little crime. It is nice to know that the neighbors here watch out for each other.

      Thanks for writing. I appreciated your interesting statistics.


    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I enjoyed this hub Tim. I often have the same thoughts. I know when we were kids we had almost total freedom to do whatever we wanted as long as we were home by dinner. No though of abduction it seems every day children are being abducted etc, maybe we just hear of crimes more often because of the news and Internet and the word now seems a smaller place. I live in a rural area on 40 acres, we can still leave our doors and windows unlocked and children have a lot of room to run free. I much prefer living here than in the city. Voted up.


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