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  • Unemployment Up, Crime Down

    According to new data from the FBI, violent and property crime rates fell in America last year, despite continued high unemployment rates. Unlike previous press reports that said criminologists are puzzled by declining crime rates during times of high unemployment, the Associated Press ran a story quoting University of Cincinnati professor John Eck’s conclusion that “The connection between crime and the economy is an illusion.”

    Criminologists should not be surprised at this conclusion, 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. For example, a Heritage Foundation evaluation of federal grants that subsidize the salaries of local police officers found that unemployment rates had no relationship to violent and property crime rates in large cities.

    Policymakers and journalists need to understand that the causes of crime are complex. A change in one 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 (comparing 2009 to 2010):

    • The overall rate dropped from 431.9 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2009 to 403.6 incidents in 2010—a decrease of 6.6 percent.
    • Murder fell from 5 incidents per 100,000 to 4.8 incidents—a decrease of 4 percent.
    • Rape dropped from 29.1 incidents per 100,000 to 27.5—a decrease of 5.5 percent.
    • Robbery was down from 133.1 incidents per 100,000 to 119.1 —a decrease of 10.5 percent.
    • Aggravated assault dropped from 264.7 incidents to 252.3 incidents—a decrease of 4.7 percent rd trend.

    The FBI data also show a consistent downward trend for property crime:

    • The overall rate dropped from 3,041.3 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2009 to 2,941.9 incidents last year—a decrease of 3.3 percent.
    • Burglary dipped from 717.7 incidents per 100,000 to 699.6—a decrease of 2.5 percent.
    • Larceny decreased from 2,064.5 incidents per 100,000 to 2,003.5 incidents—a decrease of 3 percent.
    • Motor vehicle theft dramatically dropped from 259.2 incidents per 100,000 to 238.8 incidents—a decrease of 7.9 percent.
    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Unemployment Up, Crime Down

    1. NEB says:

      But there are demographic shifts coming that could drive up the crime rate, and this could be exacerbated by the present administration's economic policies. See: http://burneylawfirm.com/blog/2011/07/09/economic

    2. mike leinen says:

      The increase in gun ownership has a positive effect on the crime rate.

    3. jweb says:

      unemployment up, poverty up, foreclosure up, gas prices up, food costs up, inflation up…when at anytime in history have these factors caused crime to go down? Folks, we are in for serious social turbulence. Right now, America is "surviving" on a line of credit that is based on the credibility of the American people. We are viewed as human capital. Internal government documents classify the general public as equals to animals. Please be aware. The government does not work for the people, and they are steering our great nation into an international community position. Wake up, self-educate, inform others, get involved in local/state/federal politics, ethically work your way into a position of influence in your community and vocation, stop supporting mega-banks, use credit unions, boycott select products, get right with God through Jesus Christ, and start speaking up.

      Some good news about "up" swings…Ron Paul's poll results are up as well.

    4. Rich says:

      Does the increase in carry and conceal permits or gun ownership change crime / voilent crime rates?

      • thomasofsd says:

        Yes. Example: "Hot prowls" are residential burglaries which occur when home occupants are present. Approx 60% of burgs in Great Britain are hot prowls, compared to one-tenth that percentage in the USA. Why the difference? The Brits are disarmed, and the Yanks are not. Do a hot prowl here and you are likely to be carried out in a rubber bag. Guns deter crime. And so do long prison sentences.

      • Kahr50 says:

        Yes.
        Just read John Lott's book More Guns Less Crime for some uncany strong statistical support of that premesis.

    5. Bobbie says:

      People are genuinely kind hearted with no discrimination, although people can be led astray by controlled influence. Truth eventually comes around and people rise above. When times get tough people do help each other especially when those tough times are being deliberately imposed within the control of government.

    6. Kate says:

      In my opinion, the main cause of declining crime rates is the demographic shift of an aging population. In the 60s and 70s, there were lots of teenagers and young adults as a result of the baby boom. Since males ages (roughly) 15-24 commit most of the crime (at least violent crime), the large numbers of young men led to an increase in the crime rate.

      Since the 60s, the birth rate has been steadily dropping, and as a result there are far fewer young men today as a percentage of the population. Less boys and men in their teens and twenties means less crime. I don't think changes in police tactics or stricter sentencing has much to do with it.

    7. carol,az says:

      This nice idea dosn't apply to border states. The violent crime in AZ rose 16% this year. Certainly we are all happy that in other areas of the counrty it has lowered.

    8. Brad - Detroit says:

      Someone forgot to tell Flint that crime is down . . .

    9. Richard, Stockton says:

      Truth, COPS do their level best NOT to ENFORCE the LAW! Fewer reports and arrests EQUAL Lower Crime Rates. Just ask any crime victim about how the COPS responded.

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