It is indeed the case that most countries have seen an increase in crime over recent years. The underlying causes of this rise are complex and not easily analyzed. What are some of the involved, and what action can governments take to prevent further increases?
Crime is frequently connected to poverty. Those at the bottom of society, with few opportunities and perhaps little education, are more likely to be tempts into a life of crime as a solution to their problems, financial and otherwise. The problems of poverty are magnified when the gap between rich and poor widens. When the rest of society has access to a comfortable lifestyle, it surely makes hardship even more difficult to bear again, crime may seem a tempting alternative.
Governments can certainly make great efforts to close the gap between rich and poor, and offer everyone a reasonable education which will bring them greater opportunities in the future. Social welfare and education systems exist in many countries that succeed in taxation will always be difficult for any government to introduce. However, increases in crime are also a heavy burden on the taxpayer, as prison systems are extremely expensive and already under enormous pressure.
Social factors may also have led to crime increases. Over the last twenty or thirty years, many societies have undergone rapid change and development. Family structures have changed, and feelings of community have vanished. As social units become less and less close-knit, the unspoken rules that guided behavior and kept everyone in check disappear, and one of the results may be crime. It is impossible for any government to turn back the clock. Society has changed and is continuing to do so. What governments must do is accept these charges and respond to them in a practical way. If there are more one-parent families, there is little point harking back nostalgically to the days when everyone had two. What governments must do is try to ensure that such families...
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