will run rampant as police departments and other government services that
help maintain public order eliminate or cut back on jobs, overtime, and
equipment, while growing numbers of formerly law-abiding but now desperate
citizens reveal their dark side."
-- Chapter 9, "Economic," Financial Armageddon
number of the predictions I made in my March 2007 book have come true, one
thing we haven't seen is a dramatic rise in illegal activity, despite
evidence, as sociologist Steven Box concluded in his 1977 book, Recession, Crime, and Punishment,
that a "deterioration in material circumstances [leads] to more
argued -- probably rightly so -- that the reason why things are different
this time is because an extraordinary large percentage of Americans are
currently in prison. Others maintain that the modern social safety net has
alleviated at least some of the pressure that turns law-abiding citizens into
opportunistic criminals. Regardless, a report at Business Insider, "Stockton
Goes Bankrupt And Already The Murder Rate Is Soaring,"
suggests we may be getting closer to the point where economic circumstances
and social conditions are more closely in synch:
California is filing for the largest bankruptcy of any U.S. city in history
due to the decline in the once hot housing market and an intake of debt
during its boom years.
The city has
cut more than $90 million in spending over the past few years, specifically
in its police department. The city has cut over one quarter of its police
jobs, which has led to a "surge in murders," and has created an
"emboldened criminal element" in the city. According to police
spokesman Joe Silva, the city has had 87 murders since the start of 2011, 29
of which have already occurred this year. In contrast, there were 35 murders
in 2009 and 48 in 2010. With six months left in the year, there have already
been more murders in the city since the start of 2011 than the two-year
stretch of 2009-2010.
Michael J. Panzner