Fed studies how unemployment affects crime rate - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ursula Madden

Fed studies how unemployment affects crime rate

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The nation's bank wanted to see what this tough economy is doing to the crime rate.  So, the Federal Reserve studied 23 cities, including Memphis, gathering information it then shared with local business owners and law enforcement.

Tom Garrett, Vice President of the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis, said the study looked a how changes in unemployment rates and reduced wages from month to month changed the crime rate.

"Generally, we found little evidence of a relationship between economic conditions and crime in the short run," Garrett said.

And where there was a relationship?

"It was most often between economic conditions and property crimes," Garrett said.

The study showed a spike in burglaries, larceny, and car thefts - crimes that can erase a business' profits.

So business owners came to listen, and to learn how to fight back against criminals.
"You have to always have do new things going on, because criminals learn the patterns that you're using to fight them, so you have to learn something new," Tamera Walker, Director of the Cooper Young Business Association said.

"If the business community can pool their resources together, and somehow have a positive impact of the level of crime, and cause it to decrease or decline, I think that's a positive thing," said business owner Lutemuka Auendoki said.

Sheriff Mark Luttrell said the numbers are important, but hoped the discussion on crime leads to something, bigger.

"I think even more important, what more can we do to partner with the business community?" he asked.

We'll keep crunching the numbers.

Click here to send an email to Ursula Madden.

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