Tuesday, December 21, 2010

But I thought poverty causes crime?


As new FBI crime figures point out, property crimes, murder, rape, and arson all plunged in the first six months of 2010 – some would say counterintuitively – even as unemployment and hard times hit communities from coast to coast....

"Recessions actually tend to be associated with decreases in crime," adds Peter Scharf, a criminologist at Tulane University in New Orleans. "People's aspiration levels go down, they get less greedy, they stay home. Not only don't you go to Saks and Macy's, you don't go to Best Buy and Walmart. So even in your risk populations you can get a recession effect: People are not out in the large economy involved in conflict and alcohol and property crimes" to the same extent as during a booming economy.

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