This week’s IELTS Reading Exercise is based on the IELTS matching sentence endings format.
As well as completing the exercise, consider how the writer has structured this article and the arguments used. Collocations like “collective inability” are used, and the writer successfully links paragraphs without the need for more basic devices such as “furthermore” or “in addition”.
Read the following article from The American Prospect discussing violent crime in America. Complete each sentence with the correct ending, A-F.
- Fears about drugs and other problems
- America’s struggle with slavery
- Crime rates have always been much higher in America
- The question is not how America compares to other countries
- The best available indicator of long-term trends in violence
- Black-white differences in the incidence of violence
A. than in other affluent nations.
B. have been diminishing
C. was far bloodier than any other nation’s.
D. but whether the traditional ways of containing violence have broken down
E. is the murder rate.
F. have convinced many sensible people that American Society is on the skids.
Almost without exception, Americans believe that violent crime is increasing. In the short run, they are right: Violent crime did increase between 1985 and 1990. But what really worries most people is not the short-run trend but their sense that violent crime has been climbing steadily for a long time and that the future will only bring further increases. Such worries are linked to anxiety about drugs, permissive childrearing, hedonism, declining academic standards, the growth of the ghetto underclass, and our collective inability to compete with the Japanese. Taken together, these fears have convinced many sensible people that American society is on the skids.
America certainly has more violence than other rich countries. Murder rates are far higher in the United States than in Europe, Japan, or even Canada. We also have more rapes, robberies, and assaults than other rich countries. But this is nothing new. Crime rates have always been much higher in America than in other affluent nations. Indeed, violence is part of our national mythology. We shed more blood settling our frontier than any other New World nation, and we made more movies glorifying the bloodshed. Our struggle over slavery was also far bloodier than any other nation’s. We have lived with this grim heritage for a long time.
For those who fear that American society is coming unglued, however, the question is not how America compares to other countries but whether our traditional ways of containing violence have broken down. Here the answer is more ambiguous. America is more violent today than at many times in its past. But it is no more violent than it was during most of the 1970s. Thus, there is no obvious reason for thinking that chaos is just around the corner.
The best available indicator of long-term trends in violence is the murder rate. An American’s chance of being murdered was relatively low in the 1950s and early 1960s. It doubled between 1964 and 1974, remained high from 1974 to 1980, declined significantly between 1980 and 1985, and edged back up in the late 1980s. In 1989 the murder rate was higher than it had been from 1983 to 1988, lower than it had been from 1972 to 1982, and higher than it had been from 1950 to 1972. Victimization surveys — that is, surveys asking people whether they have been the victims of crimes — suggest that non-lethal violence has followed the same trajectory. Furthermore, black-white differences in the incidence of violence have been diminishing, not increasing.
Nonetheless, most Americans are convinced that America has become much more dangerous. One reason is that American cities really are considerably more violent than they were between 1945 and 1965, when middle-aged Americans were growing up. But even younger Americans, who grew up in the late 1960s and 1970s, think America has become more violent. Here the explanation is subtler. When most of us think of the past we think of our childhood. Most middle-class Americans grow up in placid residential neighborhoods where violent crime has always been quite rare. Middle-class adults lead less sheltered lives. They usually work in cities rather than suburbs, and they expose themselves to risks to which they would never expose their children. When today’s children grow up and remember their youth, they too will think the world has grown more violent, even if the crime rate remains unchanged.
As always, feedback and comments are welcome.
The IELTS Guy