Economy, 9/11 Again Blamed For Urban Crime Rises


Many U.S. cities are struggling to stem a wave of violent crime and murder that has raised questions of whether police are fighting terrorism at the expense of street crime, and whether a widening wealth gap feeds the problem, Reuters reports. “We’re at a tipping point in violent crime in many cities,” said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum. “What we’re seeing over the past 24 months is a new volatility. In some big cities violent crime and murder are up. Some are seeing a reduction. It’s a dramatic shift from the past 10 years when it was mostly all decreases.”

Explanations vary — from softer gun laws to budget cuts, fewer police, more people in poverty, expanding gang violence, and simple complacency. Many blame a national preoccupation with potential threats from overseas since September 11, 2001. “Since 9/11, police obligations have increased substantially above and beyond decreasing street crime,” Jens Ludwig, a criminal justice expert at Georgetown University. One sign crime rates could worsen is an uneven economy and frail consumer sentiment, said criminologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He tracks crime against the Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, which fell to an eight-month low in April on rising gasoline prices and troubles in the housing market. The index, he said, is emerging as a “comparatively potent predictor of property crime and robbery Just as the economy is sending out mixed signals, that’s what were getting in the crime statistics right now.”


Comments are closed.