Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Brits prepare to block and tackle recession crime wave

With the headline, "Gordon Brown set to get tough on burglary," pledged action to prevent the recession leading to a crime wave.  Crime waves have occurred within one-year of every sharp economic contraction since 1954, and the crime wave that occurred during the great depression was indeed most serious.  

Importantly, like the leaders of the World Bank and IMF, the UK Prime Minister admitted that economic downturns can lead to increases in burglaries and robberies. The Mirror reported Brown as saying, "We face the challenge of preventing what happened in previous recessions, where crimes like burglary and robbery went up," he is expected to tell a conference in London.  

Getting public awareness on crime prevention and attacking serious habitual offenders is important, along with a myriad of other strategies reported in a book to be released next week written by Severin L. Sorensen, CPP, titled, Economic Misery and Crime Waves: the second great depression and the coming crime wave, and what we can do about it.

What Prime Minister Brown is doing is necessary, but insufficient.  What is needed is not just awareness of the crime wave coming, and blocking and tackling specific offenders, but also a focused strategy to hack at the roots of crime, not just block crime opportunity.  Situational Crime Prevention will be an important aim in crime prevention, but so also will meaningful job creation in sustainable long-term (5-10 year) with investment related employment schemes such as national science policy goal initiatives -- the options are many running from increased productivity, infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean water, etc.  Focusing on the clean energy of Nuclear power would accomplish this goal while being kind to the earth, as a nuclear energy program provides jobs from engineers, planners, scientists, on down to road works, construction, and laborers.  Whereas road construction projects are more lumpy in terms of employing lower skilled workers, as opposed to a broad sweeping program of job support throughout the economy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bear Market Rally vs Crime Wave -- both are predictable

The IMF and World Bank economists are raising the wall of worry of an international crime wave caused by economic misery.  

Meanwhile, there are many prognosticators intent on cheerleading this economy to new heights -- telling us not to worry -- good times are right around the corner.   What people should understand is that the market upticks are based on "technical" indicators born of "animal spirits" of speculators and day traders taking advantage of the diverse news, and not the making of a sustainable rally.  We have yet to experience the full brunt of home foreclosures with many banks just now coming to the end of their suspensions of foreclosures in process.  Consumer debt continues to challenge households with unemployed unable to service their debts -- and many with jobs overlevered with debt.  We also have yet to experience the public view of the commercial real estate bubble burst that is exacerbated by the underlying value of the properties, loss of stable of rent-paying leasees, and competing market for captial property acquisition in the distressed assets -- all of these issues are serving to bring down commercial real estate.

Meanwhile individuals throughout the globe are facing increasingly fierce losses from crime.  The World Bank has sounded the alarm about global conditions for crime rising, including other stability issues beyond crime looking at potential regime changes.  At the street level, crime is increasing in pockets not unexpectedly at this time.  Consider the headline from ASIS International's Security Management Online -- 

"Business Still Booming for One Industry: Shoplifting"
Washington Times (05/11/09) P. A1 ; Harper, Jennifer

Statistics released by several organizations show that shoplifting is on the rise across the country. According to the Retail Industry Leaders Association, 61 percent of the nation's largest retailers and chain stores have seen increases in "opportunistic" shoplifting over the past four months. Another 75 percent of retailers said they had experienced a significant increase in "organized retail crime," or large-scale shoplifting. In addition, the RILA found that no retailers had experienced declines in shoplifting. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations has reported that shoplifting has risen by 30 percent in the state, while Michigan authorities say shoplifting is up 27 percent in the Great Lakes area. The increase in shoplifting is troublesome because thefts of merchandise and the subsequent sale of these items can be used to fund more serious crimes. According to the RILA, assassination attempts on federal prosecutors and police in Texas were funded by the thefts of more than $1 million in baby formula by gangs. The problem has caught the attention of lawmakers in Washington, including Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) Durbin recently introduced the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2009, which aims to fight shoplifting. A number of states have also taken action by increasing funding for law enforcement and by making shoplifting a Class 4 felony instead of a misdemeanor.
(go to web site

There are signs (green shoots) that are indeed surfacing providing hope to many that a recovery is around the corner. These green shoots are being encouraged to grow by spotlighting and shouting encouragement by prognositicators that are cheerleading the bear market rally.  Yet the underlying fundamentals of the economy are not sound, unemployment continues to rise, though the pace of unemployment increases seems to be tappering around 500k jobs per month.  The continued decay of employment markets will adversely impact many individuals who can no longer service their debts.  You will know when the crime wave is recognized with the prognosticators use their pulpits to tell us all to obey laws, be civil to each other, use good protection plans for safeguarding families, homes, and businesses.  Crime prevention rallies have occured internationally and are starting to occur in small pockets within the US. 

There is a relationship between economic misery and crime and the more misery we experience, the more crime we should anticipate.  This is the premise of a new book currently at the printer that will be available soon.  For those with ears to hear, use this economic epoch of rising optimism to reposition your assets and move your ground.  We are in the middle of a 8-12 year event and the sunshine of springtime will fade in the heat of summer when either know risks, or unknown exogenous varibables may throw us back into a tailspin of worry as we retest the economic bottom experienced in the market.