Could The Crime Decline Evaporate After Budget Cutting?


Some experts warned that crime rates might not continue to drop even though the FBI reported a third consecutive year of falling crime reports despite the recession. “It’s fabulous news, but I would draw an analogy to global warming: Even if you believe the long-term trend is increasing temperatures, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a cold year,” Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University told the Associated Press.

Long term, said Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, “there is a connection between an economic downturn and crime: Budget cuts create significant challenges in keeping crime rates low. We have increasing numbers of at-risk youth in the population, and they need services. We need to reinvest in crime prevention or else the good news we see today could evaporate.” The nation’s jobless rate hit 10.2 percent last October, reaching double digits for the first time in 26 years. The rate was 9.9 percent last month. In the past, increases during economic downturns parallelled street level drug activity. One example is the crack cocaine epidemic during the economic decline of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Now, said criminologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri in St. Louis, “we’re not seeing – at least as yet – comparable increases in drug market activity.”

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