I WRITE to respectfully disagree with the executive director of the Bureau of Crime Statistics & Research NSW.
In last Friday's Argus, she states that the dramatic fall in crime stats over the COVID lockdown - robbery down 42 per cent, non-domestic assault down 29 per cent, sexual offences down 32 per cent, car theft down 24 per cent, shoplifting down 55 percent - will likely be reversed once the lockdown restrictions are removed.
I don't think it was the 'lockdown' so much as the doubling of the unemployment benefits that led to the fall in the crime rate.
At $275 per week, the unemployment benefit was far below the accepted poverty rate level of $425 per week. Is it any wonder crime and discontent followed from such a low income level?
The best seller, Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman, put the case for a universal income, offering evidence that when the population has a decent income level, then crime, poor health, and family dysfunction falls dramatically.
The recent doubling of the 'dole', and the consequent dramatic fall in crime rates, is further proof to this point.
It is false economy to keep people on a poverty level of support - and supposedly encourage them to get a job via that poverty - while the consequent cost of the crime and ill-health that poverty causes far outweighs the cost of a decent living wage. (Recent research has proven that the unemployed bought better food thanks to the dole increase).
This COVID/economic crisis gives us a chance to reset some of our social constructs.
We need to get past the 19th century approach to unemployment, where the Government must be harsh on the unemployed to make them find work.
Read the book sited above, it is replete with evidence that a basic/decent income level reduces all the debilitating on-costs associated with poverty.
Our whole economic world has changed. We can and must take this opportunity to make a new model.