From Naomi Spencer’s “Notes on the Social Crisis in America” at the World Socialist Web Site:
Philadelphia robberies attributed to hunger
Philadelphia police report that three men and a teenaged boy arrested in connection with multiple robberies said they committed the crimes because they suffered from hunger. None of the suspects, aged 38, 21, 19, and 17 years old, had been arrested on any offense before. Police have called the robberies “a sign of the times.”
Local ABC News affiliate WPVI 6 reported Thursday, “Police say they saw themselves as thieves with a conscience, targeting stores because they wanted to take money from companies instead of people.” Only commercial chain stores were hit in the course of the two-month series.
Philadelphia police chief Ben Naish commented at a press conference, “They said they were hungry. They said they were doing it for food.” Naish added, “They did make an indication that these are tough times, and this is the way they felt they could get money.”
The city has ranked among the worst in the country for hunger for several years in a row. Data from the Food Research and Action Center indicate that more than one in three Philadelphia families did not have enough money to buy adequate food in 2010.
More than 411,000 Philadelphia residents went to a food pantry for help in 2010, according to the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. Half of food pantries and soup kitchens reported shortages, and were forced to turn people away because they ran out of food. Nearly two-thirds of volunteers reported that they spent their own money to help meet demand in the face of funding cuts.