Crime is down in Los Angeles, despite the economy:
Police Chief William J. Bratton sounded his familiar refrain when asked to explain why crime has not increased. “Cops matter. Police count,” he said.Bratton has long clashed with prominent criminologists who argue that police cannot counter larger societal forces — such as the economy and drug epidemics — that they contend drive crime rates.
Criminologists like to point to 1990 – 1991, when a recession coincided with the highest crime rates seen in decades, to justify predictions that economic hardship causes people to commit more crime. But does it? The types of crime that peaked in the early 90’s were largely fueled by inner-city drug-and-gang behavior related to crack cocaine and inter-generational poverty. The crime wave preceded the financial crisis and persisted after the recession faded. Crime rates really began to drop when sentencing laws were toughened, starting in 1993 (now those laws are being rolled back).
The stock market doesn’t cause or prevent crime (except white-collar crime). More cops, and tougher sentencing laws prevent crime; fewer cops and lenient sentencing increases crime. L.A. is experiencing a terrible unemployment picture, but crime is down, thanks (virtually everyone agrees) to Bratton’s policing. In other part of the country, the economy is not so bad, but crime is still up. It’s simple, really: nobody in this country has to steal bread to feed their children. Trust the cop, not the criminologists.