Conventional wisdom has it that a bad economy leads to more crime, as the pressure of high prices and rising unemployment prompt some to steal just to make ends meet. The Louisville Courier-Journal says a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis of crime and business cycles in 23 cities from Boston to San Diego found very little relationship between hard times and high crime, at least in the short run. Louisville’s experience this year supports that assessment. “Our thought was commercial robberies would increase, but in reality that’s not been the case,” said Police Lt. Col. Phil Turner. Business robberies through Nov. 15 were down by more than 26 percent from the same time last year,
Despite a rash of seven murders in eight days last month, even the number of homicides is down from last year. There were 76 killings through yesterday, compared to 81 by the same date last year. Other area cities have similar findings. The Federal Reserve study, conducted in October by researchers Thomas Garrett and Lesli Ott, examined month-to-month relationships between crime and economic conditions in 23 cities over varying periods beginning in the early 1980s.