Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thoughts on the Coming Crime Wave

A recent article in the New York Times sparked some thoughts on personal safety in an era of anger, alienation, stress and widespread poverty:

Costly Hairstyle Is a Beauty Trend That Draws Thieves’ Notice
by Timothy Williams, New York Times
The thieves pulled the iron bars out of the windows, outsmarted the motion detector that would have triggered a burglar alarm and did not give the safe or cash register a second look.

Instead they went straight for what was most valuable: human hair. By the time the bandits at the My Trendy Place salon in Houston were finished, they had stolen $150,000 worth of the shop’s most prized type, used for silky extensions...

Now, the specific trend above is probably just an example of criminals finding a new niche to exploit, but it does make one step back and think about what kinds of items might be put at risk in a world rife with:

  • 35% unemployment
  • A populace angry at being "abandoned" by a broke Nanny State that had promised to lavish goods and money on them in hard times and in their old age
  • Boiling ethnic tensions in places like the American Southwest and large urban areas that "justify" groups waging low-intensity war on one another
  • Large numbers of well-trained ex-soldiers and military contractors in dire economic straits

I don't want to go on a Mad Max riff here, but I do want to be thinking from a socionomic perspective about the very real dangers that will be on the rise should mood plunge in the coming year. Things that on the surface, or to the untrained eye, don't have value in today's twilight world that is still wheezing along on the fumes of a multi-century bull run, may morph into objects that people will be killed over in the years to come.

If people are getting killed over hair extensions, just what might happen to someone who is known (and I emphasize known here) to have a large cache of food stored in their basement in a world where the federal food stamp program has ended and unemployment benefits stopped being paid long ago? Or what about that fancy solar panel on the roof of that nice McMansion in a suburb that now has 50% unemployment?  Or the guy using lots of gasoline to power his riding mower in an era of shortages due to war in the Middle East, while his neighbors yards have grown into miniature jungles?

Don't dwell on the fear or the doomer part of this, but do be thinking in terms of camouflage, protection and community policing. The future is almost certainly going to be a more chancy and dangerous place. You can either fear it or plan for it. I suggest the latter.

1 comment:

David said...

It may sound really paranoid, but mail-ordering soft body armor (level 2 seems a good compromise) strikes me as a prudent thing to put on the shopping list.

Yes, this does seem a bit Mad Max or "Preppery," but people spend a lot more than the cost of a vest on all sorts of potentially useless junk.

Cultivating a low profile seems prudent. Great blog post.