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June 24, 2002

Crime Driven by Economy

Crime jumped dramatically last year. Since cities and states didn't drop en masse all their "three strikes" and "broken windows" plans, it should be pretty obvious how much economics lies at the heart of crime stats. After crime fell with the boom of the 90s, it immediately increased with the first year of a downturn. And broader studies over the last twenty years show that high crime rates are linked to low wages and unemployment.
...Talking about the "causes of crime" has been out of vogue as retro-liberal, but with 2 million people in jail in the United States, the highest per capita in the world, our penal appraoch has been largely a failure. Rightwingers will deny the data, but unemployment and economic inequality should be the focus of crime-fighting.
...In the stats, New York was notably exempt from the increases in crime in the second half of last year. Now that emergency unemployment benefits have run out for many of those who were left unemployed after 911, the question is what will happen this year?

Posted by Nathan at June 24, 2002 07:25 AM


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