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Jobs boost reduces crime rate

WA’S unemployment rate fell to a 10-year low in September of 5.9 per cent. We now have a growing labour force of 930,000. More jobs is unambiguously good news – except for those bond market traders, who search for inflation under every rock.

At the same time, some WA crime statistics are trending downwards. There has been a welcome decline in armed robberies and the number of offences against the person are falling. Is there a link?

Briefcase has been studying the correlation between rising employment and falling crime in the US. The latest figures show that only 3.9 per cent of the potential workforce is unemployed. The jobless rate among black Americans is down to 7 per cent, the lowest since 1972. For women, the unemploy-ment level is 3.5 per cent, the lowest for 50 years. Among males, the availability of a straight job, as an alternative to the sometimes hazardous activity of obtaining money at the point of a gun, is apparently proving attractive. According to the FBI, the number of violent and property related crimes have fallen 20 per cent. There are now 525 murders, rapes and robberies and assaults for every 10,0000 residents – a 21-year low.

The incidence of burglary has fallen 10 per cent, auto theft 7 per cent and larceny 6.7 per cent.

More prosperity and less poverty, are the best antidote to the boredom and low self esteem that contribute to drug use and anti-social behaviour.

The WA Government boasts that youth unemployment is down to 14.7 per cent from the 34.5 per cent recorded in the 1992 recession is no grounds for wild congratulation.

But it is moving in the right direction.

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