Despite financial misery, unemployment, and foreclosures, America's crime rate actually dropped in 2009. Preliminary FBI figures show murder and manslaughter are down 10%, January to June, while property crimes overall dropped 6%, the AP reports. Car theft is down 19%. "That's a remarkable decline, given the economic conditions," one expert said.
Nobody can explain the unexpected ebb. Some theories: Unemployed people are guarding their homes; America's aging population isn't up for crime; police departments, using computers to track crimes, continue to improve their effectiveness. But whatever the cause, it's too early to celebrate, crime experts caution. Benefits like unemployment and food stamps that have offered a cushion during the recession will run out. The numbers could be a fluke. "You don't solve the crime problem," one professor said. "You only control it."