CMU Study Examines Crime Rate Impacts

October 12, 2007
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A recently completed 10-year study by CentralMichiganUniversity found that crime rose at a slower rate in communities that host tribal casinos compared to communities farther than 50 miles away from a casino.

The only offenses showing significant increases compared to the control counties were forgery and counterfeiting, which doubled in casino counties, and petty larceny, which increased slightly. The vice crimes often associated with casino communities improved, particularly prostitution, which decreased 66.7 percent in casino counties compared to an increase of 60.3 percent in the control counties.

"We had listened to the opposition efforts with an open mind, and they had all these horror stories, but they weren't telling me anything about Michigan," said Larry Orlowski, executive director of the Deputy Sheriff's Association of Michigan. "When we talked with the various departments, we found that there was an increase in some crimes, most commonly drunk driving and traffic accidents, with some increased instances in white-collar crime.

"I remember (former State Rep.) Bill Van Regenmorter bringing in this guy to talk about how some family member with a gambling problem took out a life insurance policy and killed her husband," said Orlowski. "Grand Rapids doesn't have a casino, and those same types of things happen there."     

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