The Economy and Its Affect on the American Crime Rate: Past and Future

Jul 25 16:20 2009 Jim Wilkinson Print This Article

Is there a relationship between economic conditions and the crime rate? The economic stimulus plan that is going into effect under President Obama may offer a solution to the threatening increase in crime.

Normal 0 0 1 385 2197 Ocean Adventure Videos 18 4 2698 10.260 1280x1024 0 0 0 In the 1990s the crime rate in the U.S. dropped dramatically in all significant categories,Guest Posting including violent crime and property crime. Some experts attribute this drop to the strong economy that existed throughout most of the decade, when the per capita income increased by as much as 30% and the unemployment rate dropped by 2%.[1] These numbers have pushed many experts in the field to speculate on the potential effects that today's recessed economy will have on the crime rate for the foreseeable future.

There is no doubt that a strong economy encourages a lower crime rate, for many reasons. While many experts could not directly attribute the drop in violent crime to the increase in economic strength seen in the 1990s, they did attribute it to additional state funding for police departments and crime prevention measures. The drop in property crime, specifically theft, was directly relational to the increase in economic prosperity.[2] The indications of this study show that when citizens have the resources to provide for their needs they are less likely to turn to crime as a way of providing for themselves and their families, and those individuals who are more likely to commit violent crimes are often deterred or caught in the act through increased intervention by law enforcement made possible by sufficient financial resources.

Studies have also shown that children who grow up in homes whose annual income is at or below poverty level are also more likely to engage in criminal activity as teens and adults, and a recent study done by the Christian Association for Prison Aftercare discovered that over 53% of those individuals who are currently incarcerated had an average income of $10,000 or less.[3] Despite the controversy that these studies have sparked, there is little question in anyone's mind that a recessed economy, accompanied by the dramatic rise in unemployment and drop in per capita income that accompany the recession, will ultimately lead in an increase in crime rate if proactive measures are not taken.

The economic stimulus plan that is going into effect under President Obama may offer a solution to the threatening increase in crime. Through his development plan steps will be taken to provide for those living in poverty, including children and senior citizens, increasing federally funded health care coverage and tax cuts and creating a number of federally funded jobs that are expected to have a dramatic impact on the unemployment rate and begin to repair the damage that the economic recession has wrought. [4] One can only hope that these steps will also serve to head off any notable increase in crime rate as well.

[1] Levitt, S. (2004). Understanding why crime fell in the 1990s: Four factors that explain the decline and six that do not. Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 18. Retrieved 2/17/2009 from http://pricetheory.uchicago.edu/levitt/Papers/LevittUnderstandingWhyCrime2004.pdf.

[2] Ibid

[3] Williams, J. (2007). Poverty and crime. Retrieved 2/17/2009 from http://www.capaassociation.org/newsletter_N009/Articles/PovertyCrime.htm.

[4] Espo, D. (2009, February 14). Stimulus bill heads to President's desk. The Free Lance Star, pp. A1, A9.

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Jim Wilkinson
Jim Wilkinson

Jim Wilkinson is the Vice President of www.YourGreatestProtection.com. He has a background in Law Enforcement and Safety. He knows what is effective to help keep you, your family and your home safe. His firm offers a variety of reasonably priced personal protection products such as TASERs, stun guns, pepper spray and hidden cameras.

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