Police chiefs across the country are saying this recession is causing a jump in crime. Of roughly 200 police agencies asked, 44 percent reported increases in burglary and theft from cars — all somehow linked to the economic crisis.

Now, this connection might be valid, but I don't know. First off, whenever budgets are in question, scaring the hell out of people with a crime wave always does the trick.

But more importantly, this correlation doesn't say anything about who's committing these new crimes. We have no idea if these are newbies or veteran criminals just working longer hours to make ends meet. If recessions cause crime, then you'd see a rise in first-timers who are now just experiencing tough times.

And honestly, this is really an old canard about poverty causing crime. I'm sorry, unless you count watching Jerry Springer, the vast majority of poor people do not commit crimes.

The fact is, the criminal mind is driven more by arrogance than need. Think about it: It's harder to steal a car than it is to work at Arby's. But a criminal feels he deserves the car, as opposed to working at Arby's.

The worst part about the poverty-crime link is that it sends a message that crime is expected — possibly even allowed — whenever times get tough. It's like saying when it rains, you have every right to steal an umbrella. (Which is true, but that's not really the point.)

And if you disagree with it, then you sir are worse than Hitler.

Greg Gutfeld hosts "Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld" weekdays at 3 a.m. ET. Send your comments to: redeye@foxnews.com