Bad Economy Equals Increased Crime in CT

    Some say a bad economy and crime go hand in hand. Connecticut is no exception. 

"They broke this window and my GPS was sitting right on the dashboard.  So, they took that and then all the cords,” said Shannah Reeves of New Britain.

 Reeves says not only was her car broken into, but also the thieves were bold enough to pull it off while the car was parked in her driveway.

"Its scary, the thought that they would do it in the middle of the day on a Saturday afternoon when people are home and around and if they are willing to do that are they willing to break into a home?," she said. 

The answer is yes.

Lt. Paul Vance with State Police says although they can't release the exact numbers, they are seeing an across the board increase in daytime home burglaries and armed robberies.

Even businesses aren't immune to the recent rash of crime.  Fifty-two major US retailers took part in a survey and 84% of them reported an increase in theft and amateur shoplifting.

"As far as the thefts, anything from gas to baby formula to diapers to over the counter medications…Things that are marketable on the street so they can turn into cash,” said Lt. Vance.

On the Manchester- South Windsor border, Sgt. Scott Custer recalls a recent arrest he made.

"The three men involved actually in the middle of the day, it was shortly after noon, would walk through the parking lot, go through the unlocked cars, pop the trunk, look around for valuables, if they saw something they wanted, they took it then got back in their car and move down to the next shopping area," said Sgt. Custer. 

In other cases, the crime happens inside the store.  In fact, Target reports seeing more and more groups of people working together to steal popular items from ipods to high-end electronics.

Then they turn around and resell this merchandise online.

 It's all about the quick buck.

"Our worst economic times seem to be bringing out the worst in many of our people,” said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

The Attorney General says the state is seeing an epidemic of scams that exploit people's mortgage problems and recent unemployment.  Apparently, the old "work from home" scheme is making a big comeback. 

"All of the con artists, the bottom feeders and parasites who feed on the troubles that people have these days are becoming more active,” said Blumenthal.  "Anyone saying they can solve your problems overnight or offering fast and easy money is probably making a promise they can't fulfill.”

So as scams and crime continue to creep up, state police are doing everything from increasing the visibility of troopers to working together with other police departments, to try and keep things under control.

"But we need the public to be part of the solution, part of the team, that’s an important part of the whole equation," said Lt. Vance.
"Times are tough for everybody that doesn’t mean you steal things for other people," Reeves said.
Theft of property isn't the only problem.  In fact, the Federal Trade Commission just released a report on identity theft.  The number of identity theft complaints in the US rose twenty percent from 2007 to 2008.

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