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Unemployment Up, Crime Down
Posted By David Muhlhausen On September 15, 2010 @ 11:00 am In Rule of Law | No Comments
Violent and property crime fell in America last year, the second full year of the current recession, according to new data from the FBI . Recently, the Associated Press ran a story  on how criminologists are puzzled by declining crime rates during times of high unemployment. Criminologists should not be surprised, because the social science literature on the relationship between unemployment and crime rates is mixed. Studies tend to find either a positive relationship or no relationship at all between unemployment and crime.
Policymakers and journalists need to understand that the causes of are crime are complex. A change in one hypothesized causal factor, say unemployment, does not necessarily mean that crime rates will decrease or increase. While unemployment has dramatically increased, other social factors, like incarcerating serious and violent offenders and better policing, may be keeping crimes rates on a downward trend.
Whether you are unemployed or employed, the fact remains that the decision to commit a crime is a choice. For most of us, the loss of a job will not provoke us to steal from our neighbors.
Some details of the FBI data on violent crime:
The FBI data show a consistent trend for property crime:
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2010/09/15/unemployment-up-crime-down/
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 Image: http://www.foundry.org/wp-content/uploads/prison-cell-1003101.jpg
 new data from the FBI: http://www.fbi.gov/page2/september10/crime_091310.html
 the Associated Press ran a story: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/09/13/1822329/fbi-says-violent-crime-fell-again.html
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