Crime Smothers Economic Recovery

My latest column has been posted at the Rock River Times, check it out:

In a recent report on crime in Winnebago County, former Rockford Register Star executive editor Linda Grist Cunningham concluded that fears about Winnebago County crime are “more hype than fact.” Given Rockford’s reputation for being somewhere between Mad Max and Grand Theft Auto, that may be superficially true, however, her assessment fails to acknowledge the profound impact both crime and the fear of crime have on society as a whole, particularly on the local economy.

In other words, crime is not merely an issue of criminal and victim, courts and judges, costs and savings. Crime and the economy are intimately connected, and a safe and prosperous community cannot be built without taking that connection seriously. Dismissing public perception as hype or irrelevant is not helpful.

Robberies, especially armed robberies, have a devastating effect on business. It is not just money taken during the robbery that is lost—the damage can be measured in terms of customers who stop visiting for fear they will be there at the wrong time, employees who are too scared to come back to work, and in difficulty in hiring new employees. As a result, a business that was already operating at the margins can be forced to close, lowering surrounding property values and adding to urban blight.

Read the entire column at the Rock River Times

About Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and freelance columnist. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He lives in Rockford, Illinois, where he was the 2013 Republican candidate for mayor.

Posted on May 16, 2012, in Columns and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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