Crime Will Drop Despite Poor Economy: Expert


Crime rates will continue to decline in the short run despite the poor U.S. economy, criminologist Robert Nash Parker of the Presley Center for Crime and Justice Studies at the University of California Riverside tells the National League of Cities. “Variables like unemployment have been shown to be related to crime, but given the previous 10 years, another year of decline can be expected,” said Parker. “We're in a severe recession with less people shopping and higher numbers of police available in many cities, mainly due to personnel buildups over the last two decades, so the chances for crime are highly diminished.”

Parker warned that if poverty and unemployment continue to rise, crime could also trend upward. “If higher unemployment becomes chronic, lasting longer and longer, and going higher and higher, and poverty increases, this will push the crime rate upward. But in the first couple of years of a recession like this one, the weight would be on the downward push.” To ensure crime remains low, Parker advised cities to monitor crime data on a real time basis, pay attention to crime patterns, and implement interventions. “Monitoring data in a real-time basis is something many cities don't do. Some cities have set up systems in which data can be mapped the next day. Los Angeles is one of them, and they are able to look at real time data and at the trends that develop. Cities with established systems are then able to notice and react to those crime patterns.”

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