When the financial crisis arrived in 2007 many criminologists expected crime to soar, as it has in the pastduring tough financial times. What has happened however, is astonishingly counter-intuitive. Even with increased levels of young males aged 15-24, the most likely offenders, youth unemployment doubled since 2001; big cuts in police numbers and an economy mired in stagnation, crime rates continue to fall. Over the past two decades, it has halved in England
, falling by 8% in a single year to 2011-12. The murder rate has fallen to its lowest point- 540 in 2012- since 1978; even anti-social behaviour fell from 4m incidents in 2007 to 2.4m in 2012. Why?
The Economist 20th April 2013 suggests that: people are buying less therefore there is less to steal, people are more home bound so deter break-ins; but most important people have less money to spend on alcohol- a 16% drop in consumption since 2004- so are less inclined to become involved in brawls. Moreover, car crime, often the gateway to more serious crimes, has been cut by better car security and the market for household goods, microwaves, televisions and the like, seems to have faded away. Criminals appear to have moved into such things as cloning credit cards or online crime, crimes which do not show up in crime reports. Crime might inch up again as further cuts bite even deeper but for the time being nothing seems to be slowing down the rate of criminal offending.