There has been a marked increase in property crime this year in much of the Washington, D.C., region, including burglaries, incidents of shoplifting and thefts from cars and foreclosed homes, says the Washington Post. Whether the economic downturn will have a far-reaching impact on crime is unknown –and some officials are not convinced that there is a strong correlation — but the surge in property crimes is apparent. Violent crime, however, is down.
Many people say they aren’t waiting for the year’s final stats before taking security measures into their own hands: buying guns, checking out home security systems and avoiding shopping malls after dark. One woman said she was so fearful when her husband brought home a new flat-screen TV that she made him chop the box into little pieces on trash day, so no passersby would be tempted into her home. In more than three dozen interviews, local residents said they are worried that layoffs and financial strains will push some people to the breaking point, endangering the public safety. They said they had been spooked by a number of recent high-profile crimes in the region, each with a perpetrator more brazen than the last.