(NaturalNews) It is not strange to hear about cars, jewelry or money being stolen. These days, desperate thieves are choosing bizarre targets: copper wires, air conditioning units, storm drain covers, grapes, ambulances, pain killers and even bees. This petty thievery of agricultural goods and odd supplies is the new norm in a rapidly worsening economy where unemployment is rampant.
The downturn in the economy and record unemployment numbers have created a heightened sense of desperation, which subsequently is leading to a rapid increase in crime levels all over the country.
Air conditioning units in churches have literally been cut loose from their hookups in Houston, Philadelphia, other cities and small towns all over. More than 100 storm drain covers have been stolen in Sacramento in recent weeks. Jackson, MO police are investigating an onslaught of recent robberies targeting various delivery drivers.
Farm felons are becoming more creative in California, where robbery of everything from grapes and avocados to beehives has been reported in recent times, according to a New York Times article. In the Central Valley which is the agricultural hub of the state -- high unemployment, foreclosures and methamphetamine abuse have made criminals more desperate, resulting in the regular disappearance of diesel fuel, hardware tools and truck batteries, according to local officials.
In fact, the entire state of California is also dealing with a huge rise in copper theft. According to the New York Times this is a perpetual problem made worse due to the metal's skyrocketing prices.
Robbers often cut copper wires running between outdoor wells and their power boxes, or the copper wires attached to AC units. These copper wires cost a few thousand dollars each to replace, and can be sold for a small but pretty penny.
And copper is not the only metal being sought after by thieves. Iron can also be pawned off for a decent amount of cash -- cash that could be used for groceries, gas money, or the cost of other basic needs. Texas and Florida are also seeing increases in agricultural crimes.
The increasing incidence of rural theft -- and theft in general -- is more proof of the negative impacts of our country's troublesome economic state, rampant unemployment and other burdens.
One example would be the Obamacare overhaul, which is meant to provide our country with security but instead is resulting in skyrocketing insurance costs and physicians leaving the field, making it harder to afford and find proper medical care.
Pharmacies and ambulance services are getting hit too
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), armed robberies at pharmacies have risen approximately 81% in the past few years. The main target of these robberies has been Oxycodone pain killers. A single pill can be worth as much as $60 to $80, so a moderate sized robbery could net a $30,000 to $40,000 profit.
While the DEA links the national increase in the abuse of pain killers to the increase in robberies, the increase in painkiller abuse can be linked back to the stresses of the slumping economy, as well as the law changes which have made it harder for criminals to obtain these types of pain killers. As the economy continues to worsen and addicts become more desperate, pharmacy robberies will surely increase as well.
But wait, there's more. Burglars are also beginning to prey on paramedics. According to News 8, thieves have been breaking into ambulances outside of emergency room doors in North Texas and other areas. From right under the noses of paramedics, these speedy thieves are stealing expensive defibrillators, bags full of medicine, stethoscopes and petrol. Even sirens and the emergency vehicles themselves are being stolen.
These more commonly occurring crimes are bound to become even more prevalent in the near future, thanks to the accelerated economic destruction of America brought about by the federal government's erosion of the dollar.
Financial hardships are booming all over our country, and suffering Americans are struggling more and more -- some turning to desperate measures -- to keep food on the table as the economy heads toward total collapse under the country's tremendous debt burden, and credit crunch.
More crime, less protection
The downward spiraling economy and resulting crimes are causing more work for law enforcement officials adding to the worrisome situation.
Many cities and towns are scaling down police forces due to budgetary issues. The tight budget of many cities is pushing lawmakers to eliminate jobs and slash budgets and cut excess costs. This means many cities dealing with declining revenue are merging police operations or outsourcing them to county sheriff departments to save money.
Many cities - such as some in the San Francisco Bay area -- were once able to offer profitable pay packages that included rich salaries and benefits, especially after the 911 attacks. Now, with tax revenue sinking sharply and crime on the rise in these cities, fiscal pressures means public safety budgets that were once off-limits to the budget are being severely cut, leading to more police and firefighters looking for employment elsewhere.
As it becomes more and more expensive for smaller cities to maintain their own police and fire departments, this outsourcing and merging will become increasingly common, regardless of the growing number of robberies.