Are More Unemployed Stay-At-Homes Deterring Burglaries?


Burglaries are down in the Richmond, Va., area despite tough economic times. Home and commercial burglaries collectively fell 12 percent during the first 10½ months of 2009, compared with last year, police tell the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Richmond seems to be mirroring a trend that has shown up in cities such as Minneapolis, where burglaries dropped 15 percent during the first nine months of this year, and in St. Louis County, Mo., where break-ins dropped 35 percent during the first six months of 2009.

With millions out of work, more people are staying at home, which apparently is deterring some would-be thieves from breaking into houses, other authorities say. The phenomenon, while anecdotal, has surprised both police and criminologists. “I think it’s based on the aspect that we do have a lot of citizen involvement in the reporting of burglaries, and neighbors looking out for one another and reporting burglaries in progress,” said Richmond police Maj. John Keohane. “So that kind of makes this possible — that somebody could have been home when they’re usually not at home.”

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