Unemployment up, crime down — what’s going on in Dallas?

It’s not just true in Dallas, either: Nationwide, even as unemployment has crept up during the past few years, major crimes in large urban cities have declined virtually across the board. Dallas police report that crime fell 10 percent here last year, with overall robberies off 18 percent, business robberies down 30 percent, and auto theft lower by 20 percent.

In fact, Dallas police statistics show that reported crimes have fallen 36 percent during the past seven years, and violent crime has fallen about 50 percent during the past nine years, according to a DMN story. The same story points out that even though the News has accused police of underreporting crime during the past few years, Chief David Brown told the News the department’s reporting process has been consistent (even if consistently “wrong”) so that the overall declines being reported now are still valid.

As for unemployment and its relationship to crime, the general assumption has always been that when people don’t have work or money, they resort to crime to even the score and stay alive. But that idea has been debunked, or at least it has been proven wrong during the latest downtown. Just as in Dallas, major crime has dropped in most major U.S. cities.

One theory, advanced by Duncan Currie in the National Review Online and reprinted in the DMN recently, suggests that high-tech police equipment, along with an unwavering effort by police departments to target the big-time criminals in each city, may be having a trickle-down impact on crime rates overall.


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