US crime and GDP: Falling together

The relationship between crime and GDP in America


IT MAY be of little comfort to their residents, but there was at least some good news for the American states hardest hit by recession, in the regional crime data recently released by the US Department of Justice. Nationwide, crime rates have been falling for two decades, a trend that continued through the recession. The latest figures reveal the surprising depth of the decline in property crime between 2007 and 2010. States like Nevada, which suffered the biggest drops in per-person income, the rate of property crime has also come down most. If such crime is a rational act, one might expect it to increase as residents get poorer and more desperate for cash. But the recession also hit the incomes of the victims of crime, perhaps reducing the opportunities for criminals to steal from them. This second effect seems to have been greater during the recession, and in fact the correlation is strongest during its worst period, 2008-09. Other plausible explanations can’t be ruled out; perhaps criminals, or at least those most likely to commit crime, are migrating to growing states. Others may be reducing police budgets less, or locking up more criminals, for reasons unrelated to economic performance. Whatever the cause, the general downward trend in crime is some small relief in tough economic times.

US crime and GDP: Falling together

The relationship between crime and GDP in America


IT MAY be of little comfort to their residents, but there was at least some good news for the American states hardest hit by recession, in the regional crime data recently released by the US Department of Justice. Nationwide, crime rates have been falling for two decades, a trend that continued through the recession. The latest figures reveal the surprising depth of the decline in property crime between 2007 and 2010. States like Nevada, which suffered the biggest drops in per-person income, the rate of property crime has also come down most. If such crime is a rational act, one might expect it to increase as residents get poorer and more desperate for cash. But the recession also hit the incomes of the victims of crime, perhaps reducing the opportunities for criminals to steal from them. This second effect seems to have been greater during the recession, and in fact the correlation is strongest during its worst period, 2008-09. Other plausible explanations can’t be ruled out; perhaps criminals, or at least those most likely to commit crime, are migrating to growing states. Others may be reducing police budgets less, or locking up more criminals, for reasons unrelated to economic performance. Whatever the cause, the general downward trend in crime is some small relief in tough economic times.

(Source: economist.com)

@2 years ago with 1 note
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