Many factors generate crime. That ‘inner morality’ necessary to resist the temptation to rape, rob, or kill weakens in an environment of broken homes, systemic poverty, ethical relativism, religious decline. Poverty ’causes’ crime in general in the same way that pornography causes sex crimes and television violence causes violence by children: it is a predispositive condition. If the family life could be strengthened, raise the living standard, instill character values this could have an impact on lowering the crime rate. In my research on crime in urban areas versus crime in the suburban areas; I predict that people who live in urban areas will have a much higher crime rate than those living in suburban areas. Poverty is crime's chief messenger in the United States. Studies have found that poverty, not race, is responsible for high crime rates in urban communities. This was revealed in a study completed by an Ohio State University research team that reviewed data collected from neighborhoods in Columbus, Ohio (Michigan Chronicle, 1997). One of the key bits of information gathered revealed that the rates of violent crime in extremely poor white neighborhoods were very much like those in comparable minority neighborhoods. Urban poverty is a multidimensional phenomenon. The urban poor live with many deprivations. Their daily challenges may include; •
limited access to employment opportunities and income
inadequate and insecure housing and services
violent and unhealthy environments
little or no social protection mechanisms
limited access to adequate health and education opportunities The causes of crime in urban areas have been studied many times. Such issues as unemployment, lack of education, and poverty are those most mentioned. There is an interaction among these factors, and they cannot be viewed as isolated phenomena. When a person is undereducated, the possibility of being unemployed is greatly increased. Quite naturally, unemployment leads to poverty. Deteriorating neighborhoods in the cities of Michigan and the United States are breeding grounds for crime. Crime evolves from the varying kinds of discrimination that most affect the poverty stricken population. Urban crime is entwined with the socioeconomic situation that exists in our country. When people have no jobs, they do what they feel they have to do in order to survive. Often this means committing crimes. This is not an attempt to offer justification, but simply to indicate that crime is related to unemployment, lack of education and poverty. A critical point is that the poverty-stricken populations are at the bottom of the economic ladder. The kinds of jobs held by many of these individuals are those most affected by negative economic swings. These are the so-called service-related jobs. In these kinds of jobs, the work force tends not to be unionized and is subject to more layoffs when business slows. Unfortunately, this population often fall victim to the sequence of last hired, first fired. This means that those that are living at or below the poverty level are often faced with the fact that the possibility of employment does not exist. Environment has a great deal to do with an individual's life chances. In the areas of employment, education and income, the poverty population are at a deficit when compared to their middle – upper-class counterparts. These factors are interrelated and must be viewed in this context. A poor education leads to limited employment possibilities and limited income. Unemployment is a way of life for the undereducated people living below the poverty level. This leads one to look at the relationship between crime and economic factors. Petersilla (1983:75) found in interviews of black and white offenders that a greater percentage of black respondents indicated that losing their jobs, being unable to get a job, or needing money for self-support were very important in causing them to turn to crime. White offenders were...
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