As the economy sours, food prices continue to rise, and more people find themselves out of work, it is becoming increasingly difficult to put food on the table. This is evidenced by the record numbers of Americans on food stamps with supplemental nutritional assistance program participation rates quickly approaching 50 million people.
As a result, those who have lost everything or can’t afford to buy their own food are now turning to theft to make ends meet. Reports from Chicago, Indianapolis, New York and other cities across the country indicate that organized teams of thieves are turning to a growing criminal trend:
Indianapolis:Thefts of vegetables, fruits and herbs are not just isolated to the Indianapolis area. The New York Times reports that thefts are rising across the five boroughs, and similar reports have emerged from Chicago:
After a summer of battling bugs, pulling weeds and digging dirt in the stifling hot weather, gardeners of the Grassroots Community Farm were nearly in tears over the latest insult.
They struggled several times recently for answers to an unexpected problem at their three-acre plot near 38th Street and Lafayette Road.
Who would steal their hard-won tomatoes right off the vine? Who cut the collard greens and swiped their sweet potatoes?
Apparently, the gardeners decided, it wasn’t deer from nearby Eagle Creek Park. Rather, it was the work of vegetable thieves who came equipped with shovels and plastic bags.
Their plot isn’t the only community garden in the city to suffer thefts and vandalism this summer.
“Thefts and vandalism are huge,” declared Kay Crimm of Grow Me gardens.
Last year, her group had a three-acre site near 46th Street and Arlington Avenue. It was plundered so badly that the gardeners left the site and moved to a plot at 46th Street and Post Road, she said, but it has “been ripped up, too.”
Source: WLS 890AM