The number of reported burglaries, car thefts and larcenies has dropped steadily in several Colorado cities despite historic data that say crime should be on the rise during this deep economic recession.
The decrease puzzles criminologists but gives police reason to tout crime-prevention initiatives and tougher sentencing laws putting prolific burglars and car thieves away. Yet even the police aren't sure of all of the factors driving the phenomenon.
"Perhaps it would be a natural assumption that crime would increase when the economy is bad," said Detective Shannon Lucy of the Aurora Police Department. "It does kind of go against what people would expect."
It may be too early in this recession to see whether the downward crimetrend holds. Some who are young, poor and uneducated may yet be driven to crime after repeated failed attempts to find jobs, some experts said.
"People don't become criminals overnight. It takes some time for the strain to hit them," said Jeff London, assistant professor of criminology at Metropolitan State College of Denver.