Poverty and Crime (Sociology)

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Ashley Duran

Sociology 1101

August 9, 2010

Poverty and Crime

A social issue that has always intrigued me was crime (petty crime, violent crime, etc) in impoverished urban areas and the social and economic impact that crime causes in these areas. Before conducting my research into this topic, I have always pondered why crime and poverty are so closely related. Are these two so closely linked solely because of the lack of income in the area? Or are there some other unknown or unexplained reasons that influence crime in impoverished urban areas? Does family structure influence crime and an individual’s participation in crime? Does the lack of community organization and structure, such as neighborhood watch programs, after school activities, knowing your neighborhood police patrolmen, etc, influence and allow for crime to occur in these communities? Does living in a suburban setting affect a child’s developmental pattern differently when compared to a child reared in an urban setting? What creates poverty and crime? These are just a few of the questions that have intrigued me as a researcher to look into this topic of crime and poverty.

. For years, researchers that have studied urban sociology have often wondered why crime rates in poor urban communities remain higher than their normal suburban or more affluent counterparts. Apart from the obvious lack of education (from the parents to the failures of the public school systems) and money, researchers have scrambled to gain insight of what other things will effect and decrease crime in these areas. Researchers and policy makers have looked to create extracurricular activities, after school programs, providing broad educational programs to community residents, etc. All of these have been to no avail. The conduction of this kind of research would have many important implications. This research can assist policy makers in revising their approach to fighting crime and poverty. It can also provide an explanation of how crime and poverty are not a cultural phenomena but rather a socioeconomic one. With that being stated, are there any other factors beside income that contribute to urban poverty and crime? How do different environments affect developmental patterns of children? And what can be done to decrease crime in impoverished urban areas? I choose to ask these questions because there has been much speculation among researchers as to what creates poverty and crime. Most researchers agree that crime and poverty are highly correlated with respect to one another and most modern researchers agree that poverty and crime are not a cultural coincidence, but rather a creation of social and economic conditions. I also wondered if education level affected both poverty and crime or was crime a learned behavior and an effect of social peer pressure. I was also interested in observing what affects crime and poverty had on the developmental patterns of children raised in these conditions compared to children who were not raised in these conditions. How would this affect short term and long term development? Personally, I do believe that income and economic status is a big contributor to poverty and crime. But I do believe that there are other factors that contribute to these. For instance, lack of education. Having little to no formal education can affect jobs which in turn can affect the ability to earn decent income. Lack of community stability, school programs, and social peer pressure can also contribute due to the fact that the criminal presence in certain communities are extremely strong and persuasive. In terms of a child’s development, I believe that crime and poverty will greatly affect this process. Children who are reared in poverty stricken urban environments will be under more stress and have different views about education among many other things. Some consequences for leaving these questions...
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