Sen. Vincent J. Fumo

District Office

1208 Tasker Street
Phila, PA 19148

Harrisburg Office

545 Main Capitol
Hbg, PA 17120



A Projection for the Coming Few Years

   Some of the categories of "ordinary" street crime are actually decreasing while other categories remain constant. Crime in cities is not increasing as fast as it was the last five years, while suburban crime is increasing very rapidly.

     What can we look for in the next several years?

     No experts agree on the answer, but this handbook does make some projections. Crime will increase in its sophistication and in its specialty. An example:

     In 1976, a band of burglars and thieves operating in Johnstown, Greensburg, Reading and Coatesville, dressed as painters or plumbers or moving van laborers or some other type of person working during the daytime, and using rented trucks, regular vans, station wagons and even vehicles with a painting company or plumbing firm name on the side (so as to not arouse anyone's suspicion), burglarized peoples' homes. How?

     They would park in front of the house, act as though they were doing service or contract work at the residence, and, in fact, be burglarizing it. They would go so far as to plug melting tools into the electrical sockets of the home they were burglarizing to melt down silverware and other precious metals before leaving. The home owner, aside from getting his home cleaned out of all valuable possessions, also got a large electric bill the next month.

     Other burglars will attend, for instance, a coin collectors' meeting. They will note who is there and when the next meeting is being held. While the collectors are at the next session, one or two of their homes are burglarized. And so on. Crime will become more sophisticated these next several years. And it is also difficult to catch this kind of criminal (but they can be caught if citizens follow simple preventative techniques).

     There is truth to the statement that the poor and the uneducated are the ones that get caught in crime. They do indeed.

     There also seems to be an interesting connection between unemployment and-just as important-underemployment and crime. In many locations where many are unoccupied and unemployed, there is many times a higher crime rate. Crime has been used as an alternative to unemployment by some.

     Further, as many go into the labor market and get jobs for which they have no interest or opportunity or other incentives, criminologists agree that there is a rising number of such persons engaged in criminal activities (or perhaps we are just now becoming more aware of it).

     Crime prevention and solving crimes, therefore, is becoming not just an art but a science. Crime prevention, such as what is described in this handbook, is a major step toward dealing with the problem-and listing what you can do about crime.

     But it takes other people, many of them highly skilled and trained, to detect "white collar" crime and other forms of racketeering and illegal conduct. We need only consider, for example, the case of a computer operator who, by knowing how to manipulate the data processing machinery, actually stole hundreds of thousands of dollars without anyone knowing it-including the auditors. It took another computer programmer, just as skilled, to detect it and trace it to the guilty party. You can imagine how complicated the trial would be, dealing with such detailed and professional material and techniques to prove who is guilty.

     As a citizen you should insist on having police on the streets. But you should also recognize that with the growing sophistication of criminals, other forms of fighting crime need just as much support from you.

     To be sure, the urban city area is not the only place with crime today. It is everywhere and more than ever before, suburban crime is being reported in the public press too. No longer can people "escape" crime by moving away. It is time to fight crime wherever we live. We are all in the same difficulty and we are all the victims of crime indirectly through higher consumer prices, taxes, insurance premiums and direct losses. top

Copyright 2000 Sen. Vincent J. Fumo