JOPLIN, Mo. — Is a rise in some types of crime a result of the economic hard times we’re in?

The Joplin Police Department has noticed an increase in the amount of theft from vehicles between January of this year and the end of May.

Captain Will Davis says that’s about a 27% increase from the same time frame last year. But, he says it’s hard to tell for sure why it’s gone up.

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In fact, he says it could be a crime of opportunity more than anything else.

“But if somebody is short on money and they see, you know, a purse or wallet setting in the center console and the doors are unlocked, it’s very easy, very quick. In a matter of seconds they can have that and be gone,” said Captain Davis.

And, until cases are cleared, he says it’s hard to tell if there are a lot of suspects involved or if just one individual is responsible for multiple crimes.