Even Burglars Can't Find a Job in Recession

Burglary rates dropping nationwide

By Matt Bartosik
|  Thursday, Nov 12, 2009  |  Updated 2:12 PM CDT
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Desperate times call for desperate measures, the old saying goes, and our country has been experiencing some financially distressing times. Crime experts expected a wave of break-ins and robberies.

"We were thinking, 'Here we go,'" Rockford deputy police chief Theo Glover,whose town is currently experiencing the highest unemployment rate (16.9 percent) in the state, told the AP.

Instead, Rockford has experienced about 18 percent fewer burglaries from January through mid-October than they had last year.

And in Aurora, burglaries are down by nearly 16 percent, following a trend that has shown up in communities nationwide.

This is great news, but what's the deal?

Well, unemployed folks are keeping a closer eye on their possessions and on strange activity in their area, that's the deal.

"With a lot more unemployed people, a lot more people are staying home, and they see more in their neighborhood," said Sgt. Thomas Lasater of Missouri. His St. Louis County experienced a huge 35 percent drop in burglaries during the first half of 2009.

Admittedly, in Chicago itself, the burglary rate has climbed, but its increase is significantly less than that of previous years.

The trend has surprised crime experts and scientists alike.

"We've seen [crime rates rise] in every single recession in the U.S. at least since the '50s," said sociologist Richard Rosenfeld of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "I would have expected by now some upward movement in burglary numbers."

So while you're perusing the classifieds, pick up those binoculars and be vigilant. The pay sucks, but the benefits are pretty darn good.

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, keeps watch.

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