Nearly every decade, there’s a recession. And for each economic downturn, there’s usually an increase in crime. But it’s not as significant as many people think.
Dr. Bill Schneid, a criminologist with the FBI, estimates crime is up only about three to seven percent in our current recession.
He says crime is based less on the economy and more on people’s perception of right and wrong.
“Those people that are anti-social, those people that are sociopaths will commit crimes, regardless,” Dr. Schneid explained. “So the issue is spotting that type of personality early on.”
According to Dr. Schneid, ages 17 to 25 is the prime crime age because they are most affected by tough times.
We’ve seen that locally.
Palm Springs Police arrested two teens for an armed home invasion robbery last week. The sheriff’s department arrested 20-year-old Joseph Roy Scott for a series of CircleK robberies.
Dr. Schneid says the community needs to take a more active role.
“It takes a village to raise a child and I think that this is something we’ve backed away from and said, ‘This isn’t my responsibility, it isn’t my kid.’ No, it may not be, but it is your community.”
Drug addiction also plays a big role in crime, but Dr. Schneid says cities have their hands tied when it comes to a solution.
Cities and their police departments don’t have the money to add or improve anti-drug and gang programs.
“We have another Catch-22. It’s going to take more law enforcement to deal with these kinds of problems yet we don’t have sufficient funding to give these kinds of cities the resources necessary to combat drugs.”
Unlike murders, property crimes can decrease with more police. And in these tough times, extra money for law enforcement won’t come anytime soon.