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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 
March 27 - Does a cashless society mean less crime?

Article: Technology For A Global Monetary System
 

We’re buying more stuff with keystrokes and plastic instead of cash these days. Now comes evidence that our cash-light ways may be foiling crime.

Researchers at the University of Missouri-St. Louis looked at what happened when Missouri switched from handing out welfare checks to depositing welfare on debit cards. Burglary, larceny and assault went down, they found. Robbery may have fallen, too, although there weren’t enough robberies in the sample to draw a firm conclusion.
 
Cash is what the thief wants most. His drug dealer doesn’t take a credit card. So, putting welfare on debit cards makes the recipient is a less attractive target.
 
If digitizing and plasticizing money also lowers crime, that may bode well for the future. Folding money is slowly going out of fashion. Use of debit cards is soaring. “You can use a credit card to buy a Coke, and pay at the parking meter,” Wright notes. Half a century ago, cash was used in 80 percent of all transactions. Now it’s closer to half, including quarters dropped in the soda machine.
 
Crime tends to be concentrated in poor neighborhoods, where welfare recipients live. Less cash meant leaner pickings for burglars and thieves of all sorts.
 
So, will our increasingly cashless society become safer from street crime? “It’s certainly suggestive of that,” says Wright, although the study alone doesn’t prove it.
 
On the other hand, digitizing money enables a new brand of thief, the cyber criminal. Their typical theft makes a street robbery look penny ante.

 

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