Remember, back when our economy was only starting its swirl down the shitter, experts predicted a spike in crime
due to a recession?
Well, experts be damned: according to police department data
crunched by the Daily RFT
, overall crime in St. Louis City was actually lower in the first quarter of 2009
compared to the same period last year
St. Louis's very own Richard Rosenfeld, professor of criminology at UMSL
, published an op-ed
in the Los Angeles Times
in March 2008, encouraging citizens in the City of Angels to "brace themselves for more crime to come" thanks to a darkening economy.
His explanation went thusly:
"My own research has shown that crime rates tend to rise when consumers become pessimistic. Why? Economic theory predicts that people weigh the costs and benefits of law-abiding versus criminal behavior. Like it or not, a failing economy increases the temptations of crime."
Should've told that to the ne'er-do-wells of St. Louis, professor. St. Louis crime stats are after the jump...
With the notable exception of aggravated assault (up by almost
19 percent at over 1,000 cases), almost every category of crime
reported by city police
showed lower numbers from January through March of this year compared to 2008.
So crime's down in
general, true. But the reality on the ground is a bit more complicated: some
neighborhoods have fared better than others.
Take robbery, for example. City-wide, total robbery has dipped by about 2.4 percent, as illustrated in the nifty and consummately
professional graphic below,
In the Central West End, total robbery has dropped by over half this year to 13
incidents. But, just to the north in Kingsway East, it's almost four
times higher at 27 incidents.
Then there's burglary. City-wide, burglary is down 7.3 percent:
In the historically crime-plagued Gravois Park, there've been 45
percent fewer incidents (27 so far, according to police stats). And the
Shaw neighborhood has seen their burglaries drop by about a third to 29
But burglary is up by over a third in nearby Tower Grove South
(to 62 cases), and it's over twice as high in the CWE at 46 cases.
Here are some other city-wide crime stats you may want to see:
The weird thing about all this: other major American cities, such as Los Angeles
, San Francisco
and New York
have reported a similar downward trend.
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg
the correlation between the economy and the crime rate as "park bench wisdom."
A rebuttal, professor Rosenfeld?