The United States is no stranger to civil war. Between the years 1861 and 1865, the nation engaged in what is now termed the War Between the States. The cause then was largely economic with the issue of slavery playing a pivotal role in the outcome. One hundred fifty-two years later, the United States is again struggling with economic conditions which are viewed as imbalanced and unjust by many. Search history and it is clear that injustice or perceived injustice always precedes civil strife. I believe the crime data bears out that the United States is on the verge of class warfare as I will briefly argue here.
Opinion by C J Oakes
Numbers Don’t Lie
I have a confession. I love numbers. I love data. And I love crime data. I especially love digging through crime data to find patterns and I equally love researching what the patterns mean. As a result, I have been checking out the FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) for a couple of decades now. I first discovered it in a library in the 1990s and fell in love.
These days, I especially love that I can download the UCR to an Excel spreadsheet and manipulate the data to see various trends. Here are some of the things I have learned over the years about the crime data found in the UCR.
- Arson increases when the middle and upper middle classes are struggling.
- Crimes of theft impact middle and upper middle classes differently than lower classes…
- The crimes of theft which most impact lower class neighborhoods include burglary, larceny theft, and general property crime.
- The crimes of theft which most impact persons in middle and upper middle classes are robbery and motor vehicle theft.
- Violent crime tends to increase during periods of economic uncertainty and recession.
2016 UCR Shows Strange Patterns Along with Big Increases in Violent Crime
The 2016 mid-year UCR had some unusual patterns which raise serious questions. For instance, violent crime was up considerably in 2016, continuing a trend from the previous year. Odd, considering the economy appears to be doing well and with the exception of a few voices does not seem uncertain. Why the increase?
Some of the other trends may offer answers.
In 2016, burglary, larceny theft, and general property crime declined among most population groups while motor vehicle thefts and robberies increased. Arson was down. This indicates that the middle and upper middle classes are faring well while the lower classes are not. It further indicates that the lower classes are preying on the higher classes. If so, it would be interesting and beneficial to more closely analyze the violent crimes taking place as these compare to the crimes of theft.
Without further studies, we cannot know for certain, but it does appear that civil strife related to economics is again appearing in America–this time, rather than being a North-South political issue, it appears to be class warfare on the most basic level.
Then too, studies may not be needed because if this is the case, time itself will bear it out.