Jan 22, 2001
The government's crime index fell by a small 0.3% in the first half of 2000. Since the economy began to pick up in 1992, the index has dropped on average by 7% a year, so the small drop in 2000 meant a change. "We seem to have hit the bottom," according to James Alan Fox, professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University in Boston.
But this bottom is still dreadful. In many workers' neighborhoods, house break-ins continue, as do the stealing of cars, the ripping out of car radios, violence on the streets, rape, not to mention drive by shootings in the poorest neighborhoods. There were 627 murders last year in the city of Chicago, almost two a day; 671 in New York, 236 in Washington DC and 533 in Los Angeles through December 23. Andrew Karman, professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, pointed out, "The murder rate very much reflects conflicts among poor people. Without really tackling poverty, which has remained stable, we can't get murder rates down very much lower."
If crime has come down at all, it did so during a period when jobs became more available. They paid very poorly, but young people at least had some income.
Now however, the experts tell us the crime rate won't go much lower. The capitalist system, based on the exploitation of labor, requires poverty at the bottom of society –and even with more jobs, poverty remains. That's why crime still remains with us.
This country is the richest in the world, but it also has the biggest gap between rich and poor. Not surprising then, to see that the rate of crime is much higher here than elsewhere.