Crime in much of Southern California has dropped significantly this year, despite an economic meltdown that has pushed unemployment into double digits, imploded the housing market, and shuttered countless businesses, reports the Los Angeles Times. The decline flies in the face of predictions made by many experts that the region probably would experience substantial increases in property crimes and some types of violence as people fell into financial hardship.
Other large cities similarly have bucked expectations. New York City posted a dramatic 14 percent drop in overall serious crimes, while Chicago and Houston also saw declines. Across the country, things are far more uneven. More than 100 large police departments have reported increases in property crimes or robberies this year, according to a survey by a police research group. Few other major cities have been hit harder by the economy than Los Angeles, where unemployment has reached 12 percent. Police Chief William Bratton sounded a familiar refrain when asked to explain why crime has not increased. “Cops matter. Police count.”