Evidence suggests economic downturns contribute to rising rates of property crime by creating opportunity and motivation: U of C report

Mario ToneguzziThe average number of property crime incidents in Calgary has increased by more than 50 per cent since early 2015, when the recession took hold in the city, according to new data released on Wednesday by The School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.

“The data show a clear jump in the number of property crime incidents beginning in early 2015. Such a sudden and large increase in property crime suggests an equivalently sudden and large change in one or more causal factors, which would explain the increase in property crime incidents,” said the report.

Changes in property crime rates are often identified as being correlated with changes in economic conditions, drug price fluctuations and availability, as well as seasonal weather patterns. The unemployment rate in Calgary began to climb in March 2015 and hence the timing of the increase in property crime incidents corresponds with the onset of recession. This is consistent with evidence suggesting that economic downturns contribute to rising rates of property crime by creating both crime opportunity and motivation.”

The report said a surge in the price of illegal drugs is also a possible explanation for the rise in property crimes.

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.


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