Is the bad economy good for business?

I raised this issue a couple weeks back, but I'll do it again, just because another juicy article has wandered across my Google reader: Does the bad economy lead people to value security more highly? Well, one installer thinks so: Terri Williams' security-system business usually slows in winter, but this year is different. "We've had a record December and January," said Williams, owner of All-State Security Authorized Brinks Dealer in Teays Valley. Some homeowners are increasingly fearful of break-ins for two reasons, she said: Drug activity in their neighborhoods and the bad economy. "There's no proof to why people [commit crimes], but desperation creates desperate measures," said Williams, who does business in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. Of course, if it's always slow in the winter, and this year is just a little bit less slow, then you have record months, but this is kind of compelling: "I've been doing it for about 15 years, and there's definitely a spike," Johnston said as he installed wiring at a Charleston home. "They've got me busier now than I've ever been." ADT, the nation's largest electronic security services company, also has seen an uptick in interest recently, said spokesman Bob Tucker. That's happened in past downturns, too, including the early 2000s and late 1980s. "Even our current customers who have a basic system are calling, wanting to upgrade" with security cameras and other extras, Tucker said. The cops say it's all media hype, but that's kind of irrelevant, isn't it. Even if crimes aren't actually up, the impression that they are, or should be, is enough to be good for business. This guy may sound like the voice of reason
Putnam County Sheriff Mark Smith had similar thoughts. "I still think that a lot of our crime in that regard is probably related more to drug usage than the economy," he said. "The majority of people who may lose their jobs because of the economy are not going to go out and start committing crimes."
but reason has never really prevailed in American society, has it? Is it ethically or morally sound to play on those fears and irrationalities? Probably not. Should you look a gift horse in the mouth? Probably not.


Apartment renters in particular are nervous these days.