Economic downturn hits U.S. police with double whammy | U.S. | Reuters By Ross Colvin - Analysis WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The growing financial crisis is a double whammy for police in many U.S. cities: They face budget cuts as they brace for an expected surge in burglaries, thefts and robberies. "Police departments are going to have do more with less," said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum, a national law enforcement association based in Washington. "I expect police budgets for the foreseeable future to be flat or decline. That will mean less ability to put officers on extended tours and overtime during peak crime hours; it might mean deferring hiring officers for the future." Although there has long been debate over the connection between crime and the economy, most of the criminologists, sociologists and police chiefs interviewed by Reuters forecast a rise in crimes in certain categories in the coming months as the United States heads deeper into recession territory. Crime has increased during every recession since the late 1950s, said Richard Rosenfeld, a sociologist at the University of Missouri-St Louis. Those interviewed stressed they were not talking about an increase in overall levels of crime, which have been falling in the United States since the 1990s, but an uptick in opportunistic crimes like theft and burglary. They say most crimes will still be committed by career criminals but that others in the ranks of the newly unemployed could become drawn in for a variety of reasons.