Do Higher Unemployment and a Bad Economy Increase Crime Rates in Jacksonville, Florida?

It is no secret that the housing market crashed months ago and the financial markets seemed to follow resulting in difficult economic times for people throughout Jacksonville and Florida. Politicians and media liberally are using the words recession, and even depression, to predict what is, or may be, happening to our economy. Another condition that logically follows from crashing housing and financial markets and a slowing economy is rising unemployment.

One question that we considered theoretically is whether the current economic state would have any effect on crime rates. I came across an article at which indicated that the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis analyzed crime in 28 U.S. cities to determine if there is a connection between unemployment and low wages and crime. According to the report, there is very little correlation between rising unemployment and lower wages and an increase in the crime rate over a short period of time. When there was a connection, it seemed to result in a minimal rise in crime and mainly in the area of property crimes such as theft and burglary. Other studies have analyzed the longer term effects of unemployment and poverty and crime, i.e. in terms of many years, not months, and found a greater connection.

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