Why violent crime is set to rise

Posted on December 10, 2011 by

High unemployment correlates with a decrease in overall crime rates, and that correlation has been increasing over time. There are various reasons for that: the aging of the population, the fact that unemployed people are at home, higher incarceration rates, better health and nutrition, lower drug use, more effective policing, and the fact that rises in unemployment are generally offset by rises in public spending.

So… why do I think it might be different this time? Why do I think that crime rates are set to rise?

  • Police corruption and incompetence is increasing, cop salaries and morale are declining, while numbers of police are decreasing. Instead of investigating crime, police are increasingly engaged in street-fighting, and are even being targeted for murder. This will likely increase significantly over time, as the police turns into a self-financed paramilitary force.
  • Loss of confidence in politics. People who feel that they’re not being “heard” by their government can become angry and frustrated, and that same government (and its laws) will lose credibility and allegiance. Political turmoil also generally leads to an increase in overall violence.
  • Declining economic morale. Homicide rates correlate strongly with consumer sentiment, as people begin to despair about their future and thereby lose their patience and their incentive to “play by the rules”. This correlation has not yet been visible in this recession because of massive state spending, but will appear as this spending is reduced, unemployment becomes entrenched, and inflation climbs for necessities.
  • The end of marriage and the male wage-earner and protector. The number of women living alone (and therefore increasingly vulnerable to attack) is rising dramatically. These women will be increasingly destitute (as the public sector declines) and are often sexually promiscuous, which opens them up as potential victims of violent crime, including domestic violence. Most sexual assaults will probably take place during robberies (as I documented concerning Argentina’s economic collapse), and women living alone make soft robbery targets.
  • Increased inter-ethnic, inter-racial, and inter-class stratification. As groups become more coherent and therefore exclusionary, inter-group conflict and predatory behavior is set to rise.