The FBI has released its statistics on crime in the United States for 2007, always an interesting read for those struggling with career choices in uncertain economic times. While the rates in general for 2007 show a decrease from the prior year, crime remains a strong industry compared with most other options in a declining economy.
So the natural question for a young man coming of age today, what’s the best career opportunity for me?
The stats clearly show that murder offers little to the up-and-coming criminal, particularly since most are committed against people they already know, meaning that the universe of future growth opportunities are limited. Moreover, crimes of violence against others in general appear to have less appeal in 2007 than the year before, suggesting that anyone seeking a future in crime should steer away from acts of violence.
On the other hand, crimes against property are thriving. But most importantly, the clearance rates for property crimes, and particularly burglaries (or home invasions as has become the fashion), is sitting at a spectacular low.
For less than half that of a robbery, and with significantly reduced operating costs, burglaries present enormous opportunity for the go-getter. While some might think that motor vehicle theft offers similar benefits, it’s important to remember that it’s a crime on the decline, down 8.1% from 2006 and 13.1% from 2003, apparently as a result of high gasoline prices. Remember, the cost of a getaway comes straight out of your pocket.
Of course, for the victims of property related offenses, the news is grim. Chances are good that you won’t be able to get an officer to even talk to you about it, as our good friend Shawn Matlock found out when he decided to take a walk on the wild side while doing research in anticipation of being tapped to take the lead on crime policies for the Republican presidential candidate.
If you would like to read a more thoughtful discussion of the FBI statistics, Grits has parsed the numbers (and presented a terrific chart showing the FBI’s homage to watchmakers) in this post.
Since I’m of the view that these statistics are utterly meaningless, and are largely used as propaganda tool to demonstrate either what a fine job law enforcement is doing or to justify the need for massive increases in budget or manpower, I’m more inclined to consider this an invitation to young men and women select career alternatives.