Sostienen que la instalación de casinos incrementa la criminalidad

Polls show that most Americans assume an association between gambling and increased criminal activity. The gambling industry offers hearty denials and various statistical manipulations attempting to counter this perception. Data from gambling communities across the country, however, indicates that gambling does indeed foster a significant increase in crime.
«In the most desperate phase of compulsive gambling, they will do anything to gamble,» Schaff said. «They start stealing money from their spouses, family . . . they’ll get money anyhow, anywhere. They’ll do forgeries, embezzlements, thefts. It’s mostly white-collar crime.» -Counselor for the Dept. of Corrections in Wisconsin1
«We have studies that show for every dollar you bring in gambling revenue, you’ll lose $1.90 in costs to the taxpayer,» he said. It’s as simple as ABC, «the addiction, the bankruptcy, the crime and corruption that you already have will just multiply with this expansion.» … «If you’re not fighting it, it’s like cancer and will metastasize and take you over,» said Tom Grey, President of National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling. 2
«We arrest 450 to 500 people a year for various types of embezzlement crimes. About 40 percent are employees,» Keith Copher, chief of enforcement for the Gaming Control Board in Nevada, validates.3
Tony Washington’s addiction to gambling was so strong that he robbed to gamble. What began as a flirtation with gambling on weekends, soon suffocated him in unpaid bills. For Washington, a 40-year-old Wisconsin man, the compulsion to gamble led to life in prison. Washington is one of 250,000 compulsive gamblers in Wisconsin and about 8 million nationwide who claim gambling either led them into debt or trouble with their families or the law. Schaff counsels inmates on gambling for the Department of Corrections in Wisconsin.4
The number of purse snatchings, assaults, rapes, robberies and murders skyrocketed after the casinos opened. FBI statistics show the crime rate per 1,000 residents went from 134.3 in 1978 to a peak of 450.3 in 1988.5
In the first six years of casinos in Minnesota, the crime rate in counties with casinos increased more than twice as fast as in non-casino counties. According to an analysis by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the median crime rate in casino counties rose 39 percent during that period as compared to an 18 percent increase in non-casino counties.6
The total number of crimes within a 30-mile radius of Atlantic City increased by 107 percent in the nine years following the introduction of casinos to Atlantic City. 7
The Mississippi Gulf Coast experienced a 43 percent increase in crime in the four years after casinos arrived. Harrison County, where most of the Gulf Coast casinos are located, witnessed a 58 percent increase in total crimes between 1993 and 1996. 8
A U.S. News & World Report analysis found crime rates in casino communities to be 84 percent higher than the national average. Further, while crime rates nationally dropped by 2 percent in 1994, the 31 localities that introduced casinos in 1993 saw an increase in crime of 7.7 percent the following year.9
The number of court cases filed in Tunica County, Mississippi, went from 689 in 1991, the year before casinos began operating there, to 11,100 in 1996. 10
The annual number of calls to the Ledyard, Connecticut, police department jumped from 4,000 to 16,700 within five years after the opening of the nearby Foxwoods Casino. 11
University of Nevada-Las Vegas researchers concluded that the state of Wisconsin experiences an average of 5,300 additional major crimes a year due to the presence of casinos in that state. They also attributed an additional 17,100 arrests for less-serious crimes each year to the existence of casino gambling. 12
Nevada ranked first in crime rates among the fifty states in both 1995 and 1996, based on an analysis of FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. Further, the violent crime rate in Nevada increased by close to 40 percent from 1991 to 1996, a period in which the national violent crime rate dropped by approximately 10 percent. 13
The San Jose, California, police department reported significant increases in crime in the vicinity of a new cardroom in the year after its opening. Narcotics offenses increased by 200 percent, property crimes by 83 percent, petty thefts by 56 percent, auto thefts by 21 percent, and traffic accidents by 55 percent in a single year. 14
The number of police calls in Black Hawk, Colorado, increased from 25 a year before casinos to 15,000 annually after their introduction. In neighboring Central City, the number of arrests increased by 275 percent the year after casinos arrived. In Cripple Creek, Colorado, serious crime increased by 287 percent in the first three years after casinos. 15
The annual number of felony cases filed in Lawrence County, South Dakota, has increased by approximately 69 percent since the introduction of casinos to Deadwood.16
Half of Louisiana District Attorneys surveyed in 1995 noted gambling as a factor in rising crime rates in their jurisdictions.17
Chad Hills is the Analyst for Gambling Research in the Public Policy Department at Focus on the Family. Having performed scientific research, he now studies public policy, cultural reformation and social research as they relate to gambling addiction.

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