Crooks Use Economy As Excuse For Crimes

Hard Times Leading To Hard Crimes?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The recession has been taking its toll on the unemployment line and the police blotter as well. Police reports show more suspected criminals are giving economic excuses for breaking the law.

In Jacksonville on Friday, Channel 4 reporter Laura Mazzeo came across a couple of recent police reports of suspects blaming the bad economy.

Police arrested Michael Flowers on Thursday at a Brentwood apartment complex. Detectives said Flowers was carrying multiple baggies of crack cocaine and told police, "It's hard out here getting a job."

During an armed robbery, also on Thursday, at an Edgewood pawn shop police said two armed suspects told their victims, "We're not going to kill ya'll. The economy is just bad right now and we need the money."

"That's not an excuse. That's just the truth. A lot of things are bad in the neighborhood," said Mike D.

He said he has seen more and more people in his neighborhood turning to crime.

"They can go to school but what about the bills they have to pay? What about the kids they have to feed or the insurance and dental and medical bills?" D said.

He said he's chosen to go to school and working for a future, but he added that some people cannot see past tomorrow.

"It's people who are not strong enough to understand there's another way out," D said.

"That's not acceptable. Crime isn't acceptable in a good economy so therefore it's not acceptable in a bad economy," said Karissa Howard.

She and her cousin, Michael Bassett, said no matter how tough things get crime isn't the answer.

"I was out of work for a while. I thought of giving blood and doing different things like that. It was rough scraping by and everything, but I didn't rob anybody," Bassett said.