Will a Kitsap Crime Uptick Follow Economic Downturn?

A story in the Charlotte Observer this morning appears to confirm that one consequence of these economic tough times is more crime.

There were bright spots of crime drops in Christopher D. Kirkpatrick’s story. But here’s Kirkpatrick’s correlation: ” … The number of reported home burglaries was up 10 percent, as the economy soured and unemployment grew,” he wrote.

Home burglaries are often opportunity crimes in which thieves typically try to avoid confrontation but hope to score big by pawning your stuff.

As crime and justice insiders around here — and elsewhere — are well aware, drug addiction fuels crime like no other. But I asked each of our local law enforcement agencies if they’re seeing crimes in which the suspect (if caught) made the claim: “I was just trying to feed my family,” or some other economic-laden excuse.

The response I got was that no one is really seeing such activity — at least yet.

“Josh, I have not seen anything like that,” wrote Chief Deputy Dean Byrd of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office in an email. “Sorry.”

“I could not find any. Sorry,” echoed Commander Geoff Marti from the Port Orchard Police Department.

Sue Shultz, a lieutenant from the Bainbridge Island Police Department, said no as well. “But I’m sure that will be in the near future,” she said.

There was one report from the Poulsbo Police Department, however, which fit this mold, Sgt. Andy Pate wrote me.

An employee of a local store was caught allegedly stealing money from the register, he said. She told police she needed gas money to get to work, and her employer wouldn’t front the money.

“She was panicked about being able to afford to get to work and losing her job,” Pate wrote, “Which, unfortunately she ended up doing.”

We’ll watch to see if the trend develops.

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