In death note, Kira (all those who killed criminals for Light) started to kill criminals in order to build his utopian crime free world.

It is understandable why crime would persist in the beginning, but after a year or so why didn't most crime cease? Surely if you know that if you commit a crime and know you're going to die, you would be less likely to commit that crime?

Was there a reason as to why crime persisted?

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    I know nothing about this canon but was it automatic (commit a crime and die) or did it require the active involvement of Kira? What makes you think that they were killing any more than a small proportion of lawbreakers (a la Judge Dredd) – Valorum Nov 15 '14 at 10:51
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    So almost exactly like Judge Dredd. Since more than 90% of crime goes unreported (and of the amount that gets reported, some 50% results in no conviction) what makes you think that Kira was killing more than a tiny proportion of would-be criminals. You'd certainly be able to tackle the more prolific drug lords and habitual burglars but that's not going to make more than a tiny dent in crime levels – Valorum Nov 15 '14 at 10:57
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    Most criminals don't tell people they're committing crime. Since no-one knows that I occasionally break into cars, and since I've never been caught or convicted, how does Kira know to kill me? – Valorum Nov 15 '14 at 11:01
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    Not really an answer but there is the quote "Names change but the street stays the same". It like trying to end war. The names change but the war will always be there. – Izumi-reiLuLu Nov 15 '14 at 11:31
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    Some people may commit crime out of desperation, others may commit crime because they don't feel they have any other choice, others believe they will never be caught and some do it in the heat of the moment with no thought for what might happen to them. The risk of capital punishment for trivial offences didn't prevent crime in previous centuries, why would it work now? – Alan Nov 18 '14 at 13:39

The same reasons that crime persists even in regions where the punishment is torture, maiming, and death:

  1. Some believe that their crimes are justified, so they won't be punished.
  2. Some believe they won't get caught, so the severity of the punishment is irrelevant.
  3. Some commit crimes on a whim, without any thought of consequence.
  4. Some have no choice (or believe they have no choice) but to commit a crime.
  5. Some believe that their crime (such as revenge killing) is worth suffering any penalty.

The list goes on, but it boils down to this: there are billions of people on the planet, and the human brain is very quick to toss rationality out the window in many circumstances, so there are going to be many people behaving irrationally at any given moment; no threat can change that.

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