The Relationship between Unemployment and Crime

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Desperate times lead to desperate measures. A man loses his job and has no money to feed his family. One might assume left with no other means the man might resort to stealing. The United States is currently in the midst of a recession so severe some speculate will last longer than the Great Depression. Various indicators of the economic health such as the unemployment rate and home foreclosures have reached their worst records in decades over the last several months. Given the state of the financial crisis law enforcement agencies have warned of increased criminal activity. Despite the economic turmoil and high levels of unemployment, crime rates have fallen significantly across the United States. The U.S. Department of Labor (2011) reported the national average of unemployment for 2008 was 5.8 percent. The rate dramatically increased in 2009 with an average of 9.3 percent and 9.6 percent for 2010. While unemployment rates have increased, the FBI’s preliminary reports for 2010 show that law enforcement agencies across the U.S. have reported a decrease of 6.2 percent in the number of violent crimes for the first 6 months of 2010 when compared to figures reported for the same time in 2009. The violent crime category includes rape, murder, robbery, and aggravated result. The number of property crimes also decreased 2.8 percent when compared to the same time last year. Property crimes include burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. Arson decreased 14.6 percent when compared to the same time periods of 2009 (FBI, 2011). Similarly, a study conducted by Ohio State Economics professor Bruce Weinberg found that no relationship exists between unemployment and violent crime. Weinberg notes that most violent crimes, especial... ... middle of paper ... ...l activity, not the status of one’s employment. Works Cited Federal Bureau of Investigaiton. (2010, December 22). Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report, January –June, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjs/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s./2010/preliminary-crime-in-the-us-2009 Gould, E.D., Weinberg, B.A. & Mustard, D.B. (2002, February). Crime rates and local market opportunities in the United States: 1979-1997. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 84(1), 49. MacDonald, H. (2010, January 4). A crime theory demolished. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870359090504574638024055735590.ht Moyer, M. (2009, March). Stick ‘em up. Scientific American. (p.15-16). United States Department of Labor. (2011, February 3). Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/cps/prev_yrs.htm

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