There is a storm on the horizon. However, it is not a natural or climatic storm, but a storm of crime, unfortunately to say! Due to economic, social and governmental factors, the United States will soon see a massive increase in crime and criminal activity.
There are three seemingly independent situations that are going to combine into the greatest criminal wave to hit this country since Prohibition in the 1920’s or the bank robbers of the 1930’s.
The first theme in this symphony of crime is the current economic crisis, which contrary to mainstream economists, shows no sign of getting better. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have evaporated in the last few months and, if anything, the number is increasing daily. Five million people are now out of jobs. Whenever the economic situation gets bleak, rise in criminal activity is not far behind. Almost daily we are inundated with news stories about shooting rampages in churches, on the street, even in community centers. Many of these rampages are due to stress of unemployment and the state of the economy in general.
The second melody in the symphony is the pending release of people jailed during the height of the War on Drugs in the 1980’s. Most of these guys were given 20-25 year sentences. They will be due for release over the next few year. In a normal economic environment they would be hard pressed to find a job, especially with a felony hanging over them like a Sword of Damocles. What chance do they have to find gainful employment now? Not to mention that they have spent the last two decades in the real-life version of the School for Scoundrels. No, they will go back to what they knew, drugs now with schooling in how to really be criminals. Also the number of people jailed on drug charges rose by leaps and bounds during the 1990’s and those people will reach parole eligibility over the next few years, further increasing the number of criminals out on the street.
The third movement in the symphony regards the forces of Law and Order. It’s not only the criminals who will feel the consequences of the economic meltdown we are now suffering through. Budgets for city and county law enforcement are being squeezed all over the nation due to declining tax receipts. A friend of mine, who is married to a sheriff’s deputy, told me that one of the counties around here are freezing the pay, not hiring any more officers and denying overtime in order to meet budget cuts. While this might be a good idea in the long term, it has serious detrimental effects when you look at long-term consequences.
First, by freezing pay, you increase the chance that people will choose to do something other than police work. Especially among the older, more experienced officers and detectives. This brain drain will take some time to manifest, but when it does the effects will be noticeable with less cases closed and irreplaceable knowledge and skill lost to the next generation of law enforcement. Second, by not hiring new officers, when crime does pick up, the newly pared down force will need to take up the slack. But wait, if they deny overtime, who will take up the slack?
In addition, as a cost saving measure, California is attempting to release “nonviolent” inmates out in the public without having to check in with a parole officer. How many of these supposedly nonviolent parolees are still nonviolent after decades in prison? This will have the effect of releasing hundreds and thousands of criminals into society with no way to track them or document how many of them slide into recidivism. It is not beyond the ream of possibility that other states will follow suit as the economic outlook grows darker.
When you combine the three factors, more people choosing crime, more criminals getting out of prison and less police on the streets, things start to look grim. At leas they do if you don’t believe there is anything you can do about it. The good news is that there is plenty a citizen can do to protect themselves from the coming storm. Much like preparing for a storm, it takes a little foresight and planning, but even this can be weathered. Much like the economy in 2005, politicians today are making poor long term decisions in order to reap short term benefits and these trends are not on the radar of the mainstream press. Of course this reveals a fundamental truth. Each of us individually are responsible for our own safety. There is not much we can do about the economy, social forces or what politicians are going to do. What we can do is prepare ourselves and take steps to keep ourselves and our families safe.
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