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Friday, September 6, 2013

Essay on Poverty and Crime

Essay on Poverty and Crime
            Every social problem is related to one another. A particular social problem like those categorized as economic problems can aggravate other problems such as drug abuse, unemployment, dissolution of family structures and crimes. Poverty, an economic problem is seen as a factor that trigger the occurrence of other social problem such as crimes. Poverty has long been considered to be as an important factor in predicting the variation in city crime rates. Communities with greater poverty rates are seen to lack resources for supervision of youth and community organization. Thus these communities are conceived to be more prone to have high crime incidents (Dweyer, 2001). History has proven that crime and poverty have a direct link and that they go hand in hand. We cannot deal with crime without dealing with its root causes like poverty. 

            The correlation between crime and poverty had been explored in a lot of studies. Most of these studies had shown that poverty is indeed greatly linked with the existence of crime. Areas of high socio-economic disadvantage tend to be more crime prone and a large number of crime offenders are coming from these disadvantaged backgrounds (Serr, 2010). The effects of poverty on crime can be explained in numerous reasons and can be further understood through the various reasons of people living in poverty behind committing crime. One of the main reasons for the criminal behavior of poor people is the way of survival. People living in poverty do not have enough and can barely sustain their basic needs and most of the times they commit crimes such as burglary or robbery as ways wherein they can gain money in order to sustain these needs. Since they have fewer options in life, sometimes committing crime is their only option to survive. It also offers a way wherein they can attain other material goods that they cannot obtain in legitimate ways. 

Poverty also means having less resources towards achieving better education which in return can cause the poor youth to have less access towards quality schools, decent jobs and good role models. These out of school youths can have a higher probability of associating with gangs and committing various crimes later on (Ludwig, Duncan & Hirschfield, 1999).
Another reason why people living in poverty commit crime is that it has become a norm in their community or neighborhood to take the law in their own hands. Usually these high poverty stricken areas have less access towards local law enforcements. These people then began to view law enforcement as not being helpful. They believe that as the local authorities failed to help and protect them, they themselves have to take the law in their own hands and commit retaliatory crimes. The responses of the law enforcers are also slower in these kind of neighborhoods so most of the time, one of the poor people’s responses is to commit crime thinking of it as a form of self-help. 

            People living in poverty do not also want to stay in poor  so in order to obtain a higher level of socio-economic status, they opt to committing crime. Crimes such as drug selling can lead to obtaining a fairly large amount of money. People dealing with this kind of crime sees that the money that they can obtain through these illegal acts can help them establish their economic status. Some would use the money that they obtain through drug selling into building a legal business. Once they have established heir legal business, they no longer need to commit crime as they now achieved a higher social position and economic status. 

            The basic assumption through the correlation of crime and poverty lies on the fact that impoverished people oftentimes commit crime because it is a way wherein their basic needs such as food, housing and employment can be met. Crime is seen as the only option of the impoverished people to sustain their life and to fulfil their other aspirations.

Dweyer, D. (2001). Angles on Criminal Psychology. United Kingdom: Nelson Thornes

Ludwig, J., Duncan G. & Hirschfield,P. (1999). Urban Poverty and Juvenile Crime:  Evidence From a Randomized Housing-Mobility Experiment. Retrieved on August 31, 2013 from

Serr, C. (2006). Thinking About Poverty. Australia:The Federation Press    

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