Burglary business damaged by the economy
Recessions usually make crime rise, but not the latest one
Burglaries are falling sharply, very sharply, since 1973.
The number of victims per thousand households has dropped from just over 100 thirty-five years ago to under 40 last year, according to the Bureau of Justice. It appears the cause is, at least in part, the recession.
So far, 2009 has shown an even larger improvement than last year did. Burglary rates are down by as much as a third in some cities.
A number of municipalities have seen modest drops in burglaries, but in some large metropolitan areas like St. Louis and Boston, the drop has been dramatic.
Richard Rosenfeld, a sociologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis who has studied crime trends, said rates typically rise during a recession, especially property crimes, according to the AP.
Some law enforcement officials say that the falling price of cooper and scrap metals have cut back home robberies. The commodities sell for so little, it is hardly worth the risk of a break-in. But, most law enforcement officials would point to improved crime fighting techniques including those advancements made due to technology.
New York City has had a notable drop in crime since Rudolph Guiliani decided the police force should target crime and make arrests for even minor infractions. He and police chief William Bratton used the theory that questioning the perpetrators at the bottom of the crime food chain would help them find people higher up in the pyramid of illegal activity. A rise in arrests also sent a message that almost no crime would go unpunished.
It is an odd recession when even crooks are out of work.
Top Stocks writer Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.
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