Hard times, fewer crimes in the USA – what about Britain?

A must read in-depth article in today’s Europe edition of the Wall Street Journal (online a few days ago) about the recession in America not leading to an increase in crime when unemployment doubled from 5 to 10% and exploring the reasons why. Some of the answers; a lot more people in prison, a decline in lead-fuelled petrol, less cocaine use and more hot-spot policing.

Our monthly data only goes back to December 2010 so we would not be able to display a relationship or not between rising unemployment and crime. If anything, over the last 5 months – see National Picture – we have seen crime rising during the economic recovery with a small drop in April, I suspect due to the number of public holidays and the Royal Wedding. Unemployment actually fell in the UK for the first 3 months of 2011.  However, in the near future, we would like to explore the static relationship between unemployment rates in constituencies and their overall crime rates. I’m wondering how much of a relationship there would be there either – we already know that some of the richest constituencies have some of the highest number of crimes.

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