Fear leads to the Dark Side

Are there proportionally more crimes, or has the crime rate simply kept up with the head count? Is the average wealth in any way a contributing factor to the amount of theft and burglary?

The way you put it, I'd say yes and yes.

But I think it's also a matter of journalism being a little bit to blame. If you're reporting about all negative stuff that happens, it feeds negativity in people, and that's kind of a bad circle, spiralling downwards:

News: Fear this!
People: We fear this!
Other People: Let's give you something to REALLY fear!
News: Fear this even more!

When I was going to and from Shropshire to attend a course over two weekends, I had the pleasure of carpooling with a lady from Leicestershire. The conversations we had started pretty much the moment she picked me up, and I think I learned more in those hours of sharing a car with her and having conversations about this that and the other than I've learned for years. Anyway. To make it relevant to this thread again: we were discussing the media and crimes. She mentioned how some relatives were saying how dreadful everything was today, you were likely to be murdered in your own bed and have every possession stolen and this that and the other, which they had read about in the news. Her view on this was to reply with "So what are you going to do about it?" They didn't quite get it. She herself isn't a slave to newsfeeds (unlike my dear parents, for instance), and her way of responding to things like that are "okay, if I'm not happy with this situation, what can I do to help change it?"

She mentioned years ago when there was in the news how horrible puppies were treated in animal testing, and some city chick in white jeans and high heels was wanting to get a balaklava and join the Animal Liberation Front, when she instead should've been ditching her expensive (definitely animal tested) makeup, and chosen brands that have a policy against animal testing. If you keep buying stuff that's been tested on animals, then they're gonna keep testing! Simple as that!

The thing is, if you read in the papers how bad the world is, you're going to start believing the world is a horrible place, and you will live in fear. "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to the Dark Side", as you might recall Yoda saying, and he was absolutely right. Fear and hate give off very negative vibes, and if everyone lives in fear, paranoia ensues, and hey presto, crime rates go up, causing more fear, etc.
What use is it for the media to have us all too afraid to walk the streets and too afraid to sleep well in our own beds? Will that sell them more newspapers, or what?

The power of the mind is incredible, and I believe you create your own reality. If you believe the world is awful and everyone hates you, that's what you'll experience. If you believe the world isn't so bad after all, and that people are quite okay, that's what you'll experience. You get what you ask for, kind of thing. If you believe "that dog is going to bite me", chances are he will (after all, you kept sending him images of how he was biting you, and since you so obviously want to be bitten, who's he to refuse?). If you believe you're going to get killed in a traffic accident or by a terminal illness, chances are you will, because that's what your focus is on. If people were more aware of the fact that perhaps the world looks like a pretty shite place to live is because that's what is in the collective conscious of humanity... well, maybe then we could see some changes.

The one way to make stuff happen is to start with yourself. Start picturing a world where people get along and are nice to one another. If enough people go around visualising it - and at the same time, staying out trouble themselves, as it's not going to work very well if people don't actually change their own actions accordingly - chances are it will happen. The Universe kind of rocks in that way.