Special Report: Does crime in Midland correlate with an oil boom/bust?

Special Report: Does crime in Midland correlate with an oil boom/bust?

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - The Tall City has long been a boom or bust town. Money and people come rolling in when oil is hot, only for it to come to a halt when it inevitably ends. The city reaps the benefits of the boom, but also deals with its drawbacks and the fallout from the bust, including crime.

But does an increase or decrease in crime, correlate directly with a boom or bust?

"There's not just a rapid jump in one area or a rapid drop in another area during a particular time," said Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter.

"There's no conclusive evidence that says that when you have an uptick in the economy that crime is going to go down and when it turns over, and you're in a bust or a downturn situation, the crime is going to up," said Chief Price Robinson of the Midland Police Department.

The numbers and data show that to be true. Here's a look at part one crime data from 2003 through 2016, which include robberies, homicide and assaults.

The last two so-called booms or times with a solid local economy saw opposite results. From 2003-2008, crime was down by about 14 percent, while in the latest boom from 2012-2014, crime was up about 7 percent.

During a bust or slowdown in the local economy, the results were different as well. From 2008-2011, the data shows crime was actually down 17 percent, while the past two years of a slower economy saw crime stay almost the same.

"It comes and goes.Law enforcement in this area works very, very hard in trying to keep control of the crime and protect the area that we're working in," said Painter.

Though the data shows no correlation between crime and the local economy, both agencies credit being proactive in avoiding major spikes of crime. It's a tough task for any city whose economy primarily relies on just one industry.

"What are the hot spots in the city? Where is crime happening? What time is it happening? And we put that out to the officers. When you start to notice the beginning of a trend, that's when we started the "Cop in a Shop's" and deployed our surveillance trailers at stores," said Robinson.

Social media and public interest do their part as well.

We've had very good luck with those three Facebook programs. We have a lot of followers on Facebook and we want to give as much information to the public so they can help us and feel more secure," said Robinson.

"I give a lot of credit to the citizens that are here. They want to keep it safe. They don't want crime," said Painter.

Based on the data, it's impossible to know if a wave of crime will follow should Midland see another boom. Regardless, both Chief Robinson and Sheriff Painter say their departments will be working just as hard.

"We're still going to do business. We're still going to have to handle the things we need to handle and protect the citizens as best as we can," said Painter.

"We just focus on doing our best all of the time, no matter what the economy is, to keep Midland safe and keep crime down," said Robinson.

Copyright 2017 KWES. All rights reserved.