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Why is property crime such big business?

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There seems to be a lot more stealing going on today that we had just a few short years ago. I’m not sure why that it is or when and how this all changed, but boy, did it ever.

I checked some statistical charts and came up with the following sad but sobering facts.

According to FBI statistics, a property crime was reported about every three seconds last year in the United States for a total of more than 10 million instances.

Of those totals there were 2 million burglaries, 1 million motor vehicle thefts and 1.5 million bicycle thefts.

Surprisingly, however, I also found several sources claiming property crime had dropped over the past 20 years, while other said it’s increased. Each claim supplied supporting figures.

Rather than argue this point back and forth, getting us nowhere, let’s only concentrate on bicycles.

While many types of property theft have declined in recent years, bicycle theft is on the rise, according to FBI stats.

One statement said: “The increasing popularity of bicycling as a sport and a means of transportation have made bicycles an easy target for thieves.”

I tend to disagree with that reasoning. While I cannot provide statistics, I feel more children rode bikes during my childhood era than they do now mainly because riding them today is much more dangerous.

The biggest difference between then and now, however, was not so much the danger factor as that bicycle theft basically did not exist.

Not only that, but locks were never used to prevent them from being stolen. Go figure!

Most of us who are now middle-aged or older were fortunate enough to come along as youngsters during a time when one could leave a bike in a bike rack, unlocked or unattended, for several hours at a time at school, a ball game, a movie theater or elsewhere and it was always there when we came back to pick it up later.

I rode my bike both to and from school almost every day when it wasn’t raining through six years of elementary school, and during that time and even into middle school. I covered thousands of miles and parked my bike in lots of different places.

I never had one stolen and I never used a lock, rope or chain to secure it.

Nor do I remember anyone else having one stolen, either.

To take a wild guess, I’d imagine the expected lifespan of an unattended or unlocked bicycle in a public place in today’s world is probably about six seconds, if even that.

Finally, although it does not actually concern theft per se, I felt one more item also deserves mentioning while I’m in the mood.

Today’s youth might find it difficult to understand that until just a few short years ago, no schools in this country or throughout the world found it necessary to have law enforcement officers patrolling their hallways for protection and to keep order.

To make things sound better, I assume for the benefit of the school system and society in general, these people are euphemistically referred to as resource officers.


Any way you cut it, resource officers are law enforcement officers who are armed with real weapons and have real bullets in their holsters.

I’m also wondering exactly how the word “resource” applies in this case.

A resource for what?

So long, and have a nice day.

Keith Barnes is a reporter for the Johnstonian News. Email him at