Poverty'seffects on crime can be explained through a variety of reasons. There is a higher rate of mental illness inthe poor than in the rich (Brill 40). Povertycan lead to high levels of stress that in turn may lead individuals to commit theft,robbery, or other violent acts. Moreover,poverty may lead to an actual or perceived inferior education, which wouldcause youth to count on less access to quality schools, jobs, and role models,decreasing the opportunity costs of crime and increasing the probability ofyouth spending time on the street associating with gangs, etc (Ludwig 1).
Crimeoffers a way in which impoverished people can obtain material goods that theycannot attain through legitimate means. Often threat or force can help them acquire even more goods, this inducesthem to commit violent acts such as robbery, which is the second most commonviolent crime. For many impoverishedpeople, the prize that crime yields may outweigh the risk of being caught,especially given that their opportunity cost is lower than that of a wealthierperson. Thus, poverty should increasecrime rates.
However, manyother factors influence crime and are correlated with poverty as well. Higher unemployment would certainly increasepoverty and at the same time lead to more crime due to depression associatedwith being unemployed. Personal incomeper capita, which is inversely correlated with the poverty level, still mayincrease crime since greater wealth means greater benefits to thieves androbbers. Furthermore, because of socialclass gaps, personal income per capita rates may not affect poverty to a greatextent (the income may be concentrated in a small percentage of thepopulation). It might even accentuatethe difference between the upper and lower classes, thereby inducing morecrime.
Poverty shares an intimate connection with crime. Although it is true that all criminals are not poor and the poor are not all criminals, it is the likelihood of people living in poverty to commit crimes that brings up the correlation.
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Sometimes despite various efforts made, poverty is passed on from one generation to another and this poverty trap only increases the propensity toward crime. Poverty does not just limit your economic possibilities. It cripples your opportunities and the opportunities you might have envisaged for yourself.
Does Poverty cause crime? Essay - 850 Words - …
What causes crime? Does poverty cause crime? Or does crime cause poverty? Some feel that poverty causes crime. Others though, feel that crime rates have nothing to do with poverty and that crime may actually cause poverty.
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Another theory is that supports the idea that it is not poverty that causes crime but the lack of values that causes crime. For example in Bombay where there is one of the highest poverty rates and also rich housing rates, people can walk through the streets night or day feeling safe. People even leave their bicycles unlocked without fear of them being stolen. Another period in time that does not support the theory that poverty causes crime is the Great Depression. During the Great Depression many people lost their jobs and everything they had, but crime and murder rates did not increase. This just goes to show you that there is not a direct correlation between poverty and crime.