Poverty and Crime - Oxford Handbooks
The question we will look to answer becomes, is there a link among crime, and their relationship in gangs and the world of crime in urban cities, and how the. But a mental illness isn't the only link that there is between poverty and crime. households live in urban areas and may have built-in struggles with poverty for. PDF | Purpose: This study attempts to analyze the possible impact of poverty; inflation, economic relation between crime and urban population for regions.
In reality, the problem comes back to the stresses that occur when a household or individual is living in poverty. Not being able to have a basic need met, like knowing when your next meal will be or what it will be, can lead people to a breaking point. They seek out any relief that they can find. Many times, that relief ends up being in a bottle or a needle. Stress relief also involves risky decisions to alleviate, if but for a moment, what poverty is placing upon an individual.
That brief monetary reward is enough to purchase another fix that can help someone forget where they are. Then they repeat the behavior because the reward of forgetting is worth the risk of future health problems or getting caught.
Greater Socioeconomic Gaps Also Encourage Greater Crime Setting all stereotypes aside, poverty influences crime rates because at its core, it highlights and reinforces the differences between the wealthy class and those who are poor.
The greater the gap happens to be, then the greater the benefits are to a thief to use that wealth in some way to their own advantage. This socioeconomic gap is seen in many different ways in our society today. Children who come from homes in poverty are more likely to be expelled from school or to have a police record than a child who makes the same choices as the poor child, but has more overall wealth.
Societies that have age gaps are also prone to more crime when poverty is a factor in the community. This is because of the number of possessions that elderly households are perceived to have, along with the natural vulnerability which comes with age. Communities which have a higher percentage of inhabitants that are under the age of 25 may also lead to higher crime rates, especially if there are large socioeconomic gaps between different households of that age group.
It is these differences which also encourage a higher overall crime rate in minority populations in the United States. Many minority households live in urban areas and may have built-in struggles with poverty for multiple generations. Yet socioeconomic gaps also create the potential for crime within communities that are struggling with poverty. These gaps are just not always associated with money. Business owners may take advantage of the desperation of poverty and offer jobs with wages well below legal limits.
There are even precedents of having local law enforcement officials extorting money from those who are in poverty, which then creates a lack of functional restraint on the crime that exists in these areas. A World Where Not All Crimes Are Created or Treated Equally During a year period of economic difficulty which started in Europe inthere was a rise in unemployment in uneducated youth and a rise of theft and violence that rose at the same time. This led to an effort to create more educational opportunities, as multiple studies have shown that higher educational levels lead to lower overall violent crime.
In fact, other forms of crime, such as corruption, are more likely in the wealthier classes. This means our focus on poverty tends to be on the amount of violent crime that is produced by low-income communities. So why is there more violence in low-income areas?
It is because there is less of a safety net that is present for those with few or no resources to rely upon. The fight-or-flight mechanism is initiated and when it comes to self-preservation, most people are going to fight for themselves and their loved ones. If that means violence is required to secure needed resources, then so be it. Resources must be provided to those in poverty so that basic needs can be met, including any treatment that may be required for mental illness or addiction.
Those in poverty must receive some level of consistent protection to make sure they do not have what little resources they have become stolen from them by others. And, for the most part, society agrees with these two points. For example, studies that use percent black as a proxy for racial composition, and find that it is a significant predictor of the crime rate, often propose subcultural explanations to explain the race effect Messner, These researchers argue that if the subcultural explanations are correct, there should be an effect of racial composition on the crime rate that is independent of socioeconomic and demographic factors.
When such an effect appears, it is frequently interpreted as support for the subculture of violence thesis. At the same time, studies that document race effects using a measure of racial heterogeneity have very different explanations for why race and crime are correlated at the city and neighborhood levels.
Urban Crime - Explaining Variation In Urban Crime
These studies are usually more concerned with racial diversity and its relationship to crime, highlighting the "disorganizing" effects of racial heterogeneity on social control or interpersonal interactions at the neighborhood level Warner and Rountree. Regardless of the measure, studies that examine the relationship between racial composition and crime find evidence of strong race effects. Significant race effects have also been documented in criminological literature that focuses on changes in an area's racial composition and its relation to changes in violent and property crime rates.
One of the most important findings of the classic Shaw and McKay delinquency research is that the spatial distribution of delinquency in a city was the product of "larger economic and social processes characterizing the history and growth of the city and of the local communities which comprise it" p.
Further, in a study by Bursik and Webb using neighborhoods in Chicago, the authors find that changes within the ecological structures of localities had an appreciable impact on changes in community delinquency levels during the s and s. They interpret these findings in terms of the disruptive influence that community reorganization processes of invasion and succession has on the maintenance of social institutions, social networks, and informal social controls.
In light of their findings, Bursik and Webb remind researchers of the crucial differences between static and dynamic spatial approaches to crime and delinquency. Since their work, recent studies that examine the relationship between changes in racial composition and changes in urban crime levels continue to find a strong positive relationship between the two Miethe, Hughes, and McDowall; Kubrin.
Labor market conditions and crime.
One possible line of inquiry that bridges debates about economics and crime and race and crime in the city is the research that focuses on how the labor market is related to crime. Historically criminologists have tried to sort out the relationship between unemployment and crime, but the literature is inconclusive.
Some studies find that unemployment is positively associated with crime while others do not find a significant relationship. Examinations that go beyond the simple consideration of employed versus unemployed persons have found that areas with unstable unemployment circumstances for relatively large portions of adults have higher crime rates Crutchfield; Crutchfield, Glusker, and Bridges.
Labor market segmentation research seeks to explain how job allocation perpetuates systems of stratification, which regulate the poor and some minority populations to economic disadvantage across generations.
The line of research may help to explain why underclass urban neighborhoods, composed heavily of African American and Latino residents, have higher crime rates. Urban Crime - Conclusions [next] [back] Urban Crime - Explaining Urban Crime Citing this material Please include a link to this page if you have found this material useful for research or writing a related article. Content on this website is from high-quality, licensed material originally published in print form.
You can always be sure you're reading unbiased, factual, and accurate information. Paste the link into your website, email, or any other HTML document. He calls his new book The War Against the Poor, but, as he is quick to point out, his real topic is "the war of words" against the poor Erikson Gans wants his readers to think carefully about the "pejorative labels" we often use when talking about poor people because those expressions act to "stereotype, stigmatize, and harass the poor" by implying that they are "moral inferiors" and thus responsible for their own fate Watts The two principal offenders, says Gans, are "culture of poverty," introduced into everyday conversation by Oscar Lewis thirty years ago, and "under-class" introduced by Gunnar Myrdal at about the same time and gaining in conversation ever since Erikson Gans is particularly concerned that these terms and others like them seem to suggest that poor people are characterized by defective moral writing of some kind and thus belong to what an older generation called "the undeserving poor" Pinderhoughes The danger from such labels, Gans warns, is that "they focus on behavior that hides the poverty causing it, and subsides as its cause moral or cultural or genetic failure" Nation Gans ideas are logical in determining why those people not on welfare view the poor as lower society.
It appears easy to get mixed up in the language of our culture rather than doing something to make the situation more favorable. Who's to say that the poor are undeserving, it's possible the people on welfare at one time had jobs and lost them for extenuating circumstances such as being laid-off.
A View of the Urban Underclass: How Crime and Poverty Create a Poor Society
Men without regular jobs populate every journalistic and scholarly description of lower-class life. American sociologists have traditionally seen chronic male joblessness as a defining characteristic of the lower class and many writers now define the underclass in the same way Erikson Yet, while many writers see chronic joblessness as a necessary condition for membership in the underclass, few see it as sufficient.
For example, a computer engineer who makes a fortune, sells his company, and never works again is not a member of the underclass, even if he spends most of his time in an alcoholic stupor Jackson Nor is a disabled construction worker with good disability benefits and a working wife part of the underclass.
It is the combination of chronic joblessness and inadequate income that makes a man part of the underclass. The best way to measure chronic joblessness would probably be to ask working-age adults how many months they had worked in the past five years. This figure should give a respectable number of those people who can be categorized as the jobless.
How Poverty Influences Crime Rates
These people in turn are the cause and effect of many other situations in the inner cities today, the most important result of joblessness being crime Jackson Almost everyone agrees that joblessness alone is not sufficient to make a man a member of the underclass.
It is the combination of joblessness and poverty that defines the jobless underclass Hunzeker And it does not necessarily mean that we should exclude from the underclass every chronically jobless man whose family has an income above the poverty line.
If a permanently jobless man has no income of his own, lives with his parents or siblings, and escapes poverty only because their income is above the poverty line, we might want to include him in the jobless underclass.
As a first approximation, however, excluding those who are not poor from the underclass surely makes more sense than including them. Thus joblessness and poverty come in consequence with one another. It would seem logical that if there were a large concentration of jobless individuals in a specific concentration it would be very poor On the contrary, there are arguments that specify no relationship between joblessness and poverty exists. If we set aside inmates of institutions whose families income is unknown, more than half of all prime-age jobless men now live in families with incomes above the poverty line.
The big increase in joblessness has been among men whose families are not poor. By some measures discussed by Tucker, the jobless underclass did not grow at all between and It did grow between andbut that may have been partly because some parts of the country had not fully recovered from the recession Tucker When the economic cost of joblessness declines, we expect some chronically jobless men to leave the labor force. The puzzle is not why such men stop working but why everyone else gets so upset when this happens.
Judging by what the men were paid, employers never thought their services worth much. The men's departure from the labor force cannot, therefore, have reduced the nation's economic output significantly. Nonetheless, the idleness of those who aren't working makes almost everyone who works angry Hunzeker Indeed the spread of idleness among prime-age men is one of the main reasons why the affluent now feel less moral obligation to the poor than they felt in the 's or early 's.
Most theories about the underclass assume that chronic joblessness has increased more in poor inner-city neighborhoods than elsewhere. Published evidence on the relationship between poor and jobless in the cities is surprisingly difficult to find, but an unpublished paper by Mark Hughes suggests that geographic differences followed much the same pattern as racial differences, at least during the 's Erikson The proportional increase in joblessness was roughly the same in good and bad neighborhoods.
However the absolute increase was much greater in bad neighborhoods. Bad neighborhoods meaning those with a high crime rate which ultimately contained the highest increase in joblessness. How is crime related so closely to joblessness? Ever since the days of immigration dating back to the 's it is clear that the urban underclass defines a direct affect of both crime and joblessness.
The neighborhoods of New York City for example were being filled everyday with newcomers from Ireland and Germany Pinderhughes