A surge in robberies in Sacramento, Ca., significantly outpaced state and national crime rates in the first six months of this year, reports the Sacramento Bee. Sheriff John McGinness says many of the crimes were committed by “rudderless young men” — some of whom are gang members — who grew up in criminal environments without positive role models. The number of males between 15 and 24 increased 12.6 percent in Sacramento County from 2000 to 2005. McGinness said his department was caught off-guard by the rising robbery rate and did not hone in on it quickly enough. “We’re not talking about the Cleavers, but kids who don’t know who dad is, and mom is in and out of jail,” he said. “Education is resisted; no one at home is encouraging an orderly lifestyle.”
Criminologists say economic and other factors have contributed to the rising robbery rate. Cell phones and iPods are irresistible to criminals who might have turned to other forms of larceny in the past, said David Kennedy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. A shortage of jobs for men with low skill levels might have driven robberies, said Alfred Blumstein of at Carnegie Mellon University. He said many jobs traditionally available to high school dropouts have been outsourced to China or other nations.