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March 11, 2009

Recession Means Schizophrenic Crime Trends

You're either safer than you've ever been ... or in more danger than ever.

A recent headline in the Las Vegas Review Journal: "Official says recession puts dent in crime."

Nevada's corrections director is claiming that the recession deserves a pat on the back for a recent slump in the state's crime rates. Apparently, financial crises make people stay home more, reducing the number of potential victims on the streets. Add to that the number of unemployed parents who now cast a keener watchful eye on their trouble-making youth. Nevada is so convinced that crime is on the "down and down" that they're reevaluating their prison plans.

Over in Idaho, the opposite seems to be true, as claimed by this Fox News report: "'Recession Crime' Increasing in Idaho." Here, shoplifting is on the rise as money troubles make more fingers sticky.

It's probably much too early to predict which trend will become the norm, if either. Richard Rosenfeld, a sociologist at University of Missouri-St. Louis, said that there can be a year-long lag between economic change and crime rates.

So, Idaho criminals + peace-loving Nevadans - one-year lag time = correlation between economy and crime rates?

How about this formula instead: fear + crime + unpredictability = human nature.

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Just a FYI from someone who's a stickler for words.

The term "schizophrenic" is used incorrectly when you're referring to a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" condition. That would be dissociative identity (or multiple personality) disorder. AllPsych.com defines it as follows: "The primary characteristic of this disorder is the existence of more than one distinct identity or personality within the same individual. The identities will ‘take control’ of the person at different times, with important information about the other identities out of conscious awareness."

Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder in which a person cannot distinguish between reality and non-reality. They can hold fast to certain delusions (false beliefs) or experience hallucinations (false perceptions) which seem real to them.

I know that your use of schizophrenic has become part of our cultural vernacular; however, on behalf of those who deal with the mental illness on a daily basis, please come up with a better and more accurate word.


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