Will this downturn prove to be harsher than the last one in 2001? And if so, how? A news report out of Massachusetts raises one possibility: a spike in the crime rate. "As more people lose their jobs and savings to the swooning economy, police officers across the state are grappling with sharp rises in burglaries, larcenies, and car break-ins, which many of them believe are tied to the financial gloom," the Boston Globe reports.

"The connection between crime and the economy has always come with caveats," the newspaper continues. "Although most police officials and criminologists agree that a recession usually leads to a rise in property crimes, many say that every crime is triggered by a variety of societal and personal pressures that cannot be explained by any single factor."

The overall crime has been on the decline for the better part of the past 20 years--a period of strong and sustained economic growth. Companies have not used the low-crime rate as an excuse to neglect issues such as workplace security and loss prevention, and technology has made certain aspects of crime prevention much easier to manage. Still, a whole generation of business owners has come on the scene in a period of low crime, meaning they didn't have the same costs or distractions as, say, a company that did business in the 1970s or 1980s, when crime was more prevalent. A sudden rise in crime could, in theory at least, present these unprepared business owners an added obstacle to recovery.

Of course, the Globe isn't proving or predicting a crime wave; the article simply cites a few worrying statistics from police departments in Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts, and raises questions. What are you seeing in your business? Have you experienced an uptick in crime--be it employee theft or simple vandalism--in your area?