BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB)– With inflation at a 40-year high and a massive supply chain shortage, Americans are battling high prices at the pump to the grocery store.

Experts tell News 13 that as prices rise and fall, crime does too.

“Due to the economic strains, it does make people a little more desperate to find other ways to make money,” said Bay County Sheriff’s Office Captain of Investigations, Jason Daffin.

Data from the Council on Criminal Justice shows nationwide, residential burglaries have increased by 6%, non-residential burglaries are up by 8% and larceny has increased by 20% in the first six months of 2022 compared to 2021.

Gulf Coast State College Public Safety Professor Daryl White said it is not uncommon to see crime increase during economic hardships.

“Over the past 100 years within the United States, research has shown that any time inflation goes up, crime follows up after, and when it starts decreasing, crime decreases after that,” said White.

Yet, in Bay County, property crime has gone down.

According to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, from July 2020 to July 2021, the agency responded to 465 burglaries, 217 vehicle burglaries and 1,199 theft cases.

Compared to July 2021 through July 2022, the agency responded to 371 burglaries, 166 vehicle burglaries and 970 theft cases.

Daffin partially attributes the property crime decrease to the increase in jobs since the pandemic.

“Some of this data falls during COVID-19 so there wasn’t as much opportunity for work as people were working from home and restaurants were closed.”

He also said new technology like BAYROC, has also improved the agency’s response to property crime.

The system uses traffic cameras, license plate readers and other databases in hopes deputies can use the information to catch a criminal more quickly.

“A resource like BAYROC that gives real-time information on cases is a game changer,” he said.