When the economy's weak, there may be more incentive to steal, but there's also less to take. That theory held up in a comparison of 2006-2008 theft rates in five categories for the state of Tennessee. Shoplifting was up, which makes sense in a tight economy, as was theft of motor vehicle parts—probably more people having to make do with repairing older model cars or trying to make money from the valuable metal in catalytic converters. But pocket picking and thefts from buildings and motor vehicles have slumped. Could it be there just isn't as much money or valuable personal property around to take?
Tennessee Crimes Against Property: Larceny/Theft
Theft from building
Theft from motor vehicle
Theft of motor vehicle parts
Source: Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Crime Statistics Unit, 2008