Property crime is on the decline since the start of the pandemic
Does High Unemployment Increase Crime? The answer is complicated.
A recent report by the Criminal Justice Council found that property and drug crimes in 28 cities fell dramatically in the first eight months of the pandemic, by more than 20%
It is not typical. But neither has the recession caused by COVID-19.
University of Missouri-St. Louis wrote the new report. He said all types of crime rates usually go up when the economy is bad. But there are two important exceptions.
“One is the Great Depression. And the other is the Great Recession of 2008-2009, during which crime rates did not increase, ”Rosenfeld said.
The reason, he said, is low inflation. Compare that to the double recessions of the mid-1970s and early 1980s, when inflation skyrocketed, unemployment was high and so did crime.
“When a recession coincides with price increases, with inflation, we tend to see crime increase,” Rosenfeld said.
So when things like food or gasoline get more expensive and people are out of work, there is more crime, he said. But now? Inflation is low. And because people are forced to stay in their homes, crimes like home burglaries are much more difficult.
But in some areas, like New York, burglaries are on the rise. Francisco Marte, in the Bronx, runs an association of bodegas, the small convenience stores that are all over New York City. Shooting and thefts in or near bodegas increased during the pandemic.
Just a few weeks ago, in one of his stores, “a guy walks in, gets behind the counter and points a knife at the clerk,” Marte said, speaking in Spanish. “The point is, people are feeling the crisis. There is no money. People are desperate.
Rosenfeld’s study found that violent crime is on the rise across the country. Homicides are up 34% this fall compared to last year.
John Roman, who studies crime economics at the University of Chicago, said the increase in violent crime is due to more than inflation.
It is also about “people who have long-term stews. Gangs and crews. They are all at home now, ”said Roman. “And the people they have differences with are right there, a few blocks away. And everyone has a lot of free time.
Another factor which, according to experts, cannot be ignored is the deterioration of relations between the community and the police. It has been a year of confrontations over racist police practices, and many fear people will be reluctant to call for help.