As more people lose their jobs and savings, police officers across Massachusetts grappling with sharp rises in burglaries, larcenies, and car break-ins, which many of them believe are tied to the financial gloom, the Boston Globe reports. Consumer desperation, anger, and frustration might be the root cause of several other trends, police say: an increase in domestic violence, a proliferation of scams, and a greater willingness to buy wares such as iPods and GPS devices from pawn shops instead of retail stores.
The connection between crime and the economy comes with caveats. Although most police officials and criminologists agree that a recession usually leads to a rise in property crimes, crimes are triggered by a variety of societal and personal pressures that cannot be explained by any single factor. In Boston, major crimes are down citywide, but some sections have seen jumps in auto thefts, burglaries, and robberies. Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said the economy is a likely cause, though the drug trade and chronic poverty also play key roles. “I think it just makes sense that people who are out of work or who are stressed in one way or another are more likely to act out or commit a crime,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s as much of a driving factor as drug addiction.