Utah Crimes

I had the opportunity to attend our very own professor David Tufte's presentation on his paper Crimes in Utah today. Even though his paper wasn’t all the way finished, he still did a good job of presenting his views and opinions. Not to mention he was very accepting of everyone else’s comments and ideas to better his paper. Tufte made the point that Utah may be high in one "crime" such as bankruptcy or fraud, but significantly low in another such as murder or rape. It was surprising to me to hear that Utah was so high in the bankruptcy area, although i can see how this might be. It seems to me that everyone in Utah is always trying to be better than their neighbor. Another "crime" Tufte talked about was perscription drug abuse. This may be due to mothers who are trying to be "super mom". We can only push ourselves so far before we break down, then it's on to the medications. There is so much pressure in Utah for mothers, and everyone else, to be perfect.


Anonymous said...

Bricklin: OK, so where are the ODF developer kits?
When spreadsheet co-inventor and now Software Garden CEO Dan Bricklin saw my blog about how ODF could be the new frictionless document DNA of the Internet , he called to say he thought I was right and went on ...
Hi, just surfing today and found this nice site. I have a prepaid debit card site too. If you like it let me know.

destiny said...

I wonder if the bankruptcy issue in Utah has anything to do with how people are raised and taught to manage their money. I don't know why it would be any worse here than in other states but I see problems arising all the time with people my age. Buying things they don't need or letting credit cards offer a way of obtaining a lot of expensive things. A lot of people don't understand the simple issue of compounding interest. Just make the minimum monthly payment on your $2000 credit card bill of $24, awesome! The interest building up on that credit card creates a wall in which people will never be able to get passed for the rest of their lives. But back to the issue at hand, why would Utah be any worse at this problem than any other state?
The prescription drug abuse is another interesting issue. Along with what Alex mentioned about depressed or stressed out adults abusing the drugs, I think most of the statistics are coming from the younger population. If you can't get your hands on some alcohol or marijuana, then just go find somebody that broke their leg and steal some of their loratab and abuse the hell out of it. I saw it all the time in my high school, and I still see it every day on campus. This is interesting too, some guy I know was making a fortune off of selling percoset to addicted individuals. The crazy thing is that he was selling the pills for $50 a pill and people were still buying them from him. $50, are you kidding me? Go buy a bottle of robitussin from Wal-Mart for $6 and get your buzz from that. It's crazy to think about how much people are willing to pay for something when they are addicted to it.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Alex's post for a capitilization error.

I won't add too much here - if you're really interested just stop by my office and ask for a copy of the paper.

I don't think Utah's bankruptcy and fraud rates have too much to do with how people are financially educated when young. That seems to be a problem everywhere.

I'm curious about whether there is a "keeping up with the Jones' effect in Utah". One of your (LDS) professors who attended my session suggested afterwards that their may be some excessive competition within wards - but I'm not sure how you'd ever get data to test that.

I don't have a ready answer for prescription drug abuse either, but Destiny's rather colorful comment did get me thinking. When I first moved to Utah in 1991 I was immediately struck by the number of pills that people took here. Now, that wasn't necessarily prescription drugs either - it was supplements of various kinds. There were people taking all sorts of stuff, which you would not see back East at all. So, again I'm not sure how you'd measure this, but I wonder if prescription drug abuse is a lateral shift from supplement abuse.

Thanks for coming to my presentation Alex!

Jordan said...

Dr. Tufte said:

"I'm curious about whether there is a "keeping up with the Jones' effect in Utah"."

I definitely think that there are many people in this area that are trying to outdo their neighbors. It's unfortunate. Having lived many places, I would have to assert that this kind of attitude is more particular to Utah than any other place I've lived. I wonder if this poor style of money management has anything to do with the trend to marry young. In Utah, it seems that many people get married before they really have a chance to live on their own and establish good budgetary habits.

Matthew said...

Dr. Tufte said, “. . . their may be some excessive competition within wards.” This is true, but I don't think that is specific only to Utah. I think it is true in any tight-nit community – so any time you get a group of people together that interact with each other frequently, there will be competition. This is true within small towns and also in large towns where the neighbors are close. Hmm, sounds like Cedar fits the bill on both of these.

Dr. Tufte said...

I think Matthew may have hit on something. It may be that - while the organization structure of predominantly LDS society has benefits - that it also has costs that come out as "Utah Crimes".