The Link Between Poverty and Crime

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“Many people living in poverty do not want to be living in poverty. In order to obtain a higher level of socioeconomic status, crime is seen as the only option.” (Wilson, 1987). Crime exists everywhere in the world – in rural and urban areas in many countries, in the East and West, and among all types of people. This has led many government officials, especially those in urban areas, to focus largely on the reduction of crime among their respective constituencies and has led others to speculate on the factors that influence the amount of crime and how those factors can be controlled. Crime has been around since man and there is no doubt that it will continue to be around, until there is an existence of a perfect world. But for now, we must study how crime and poverty are linked to one another, and why it is possible for studies to be done on such a topic. There are many factors of crime; these are persistent unemployment, marital disruption, and female-headed household and teenage pregnancy to poverty and delinquency (Anderson, 1993).

In certain parts of the world, urban crime is often perceived as a problem amid areas with high poverty levels. This may be the case; however, many other factors, such as unemployment, population density, minority population, and age distribution, are correlated with crime and these factors affect poverty as well. When these factors are controlled for, how much does poverty affect crime? Knowing more accurately how poverty affects crime can help us know if focusing on the reduction of poverty can aid in crime reduction or if money and effort should go to other areas. The amount of morality needed in order to rise against the temptation to commit crime can be difficult. It is even harder when you are coming from a place where crime is considered to be a normal part of society and looked at as a way of daily living that is supposed to be incorporated into daily lifestyles. The relationship between poverty and crime is not a new subject to be talked about. In fact it has been an extremely controversial subject among many over the years. There have been arguments made stating that poverty does not have a direct link to crime based off the notion that there are countries where poverty is high but the crime rates in those countries are low. Others have argued that it is impossible to think that there isn’t a direct link between the two.

What is poverty and crime? Poverty can be defined simply as the condition where people’s basic need for food, clothing, and shelter are not being met. There are two types of poverty; (1) Absolute Poverty, which is described as synonymous with destitution and occurs when people cannot obtain adequate resources (measured in terms of calories and nutrition) to support a minimum level of physical health. (2) Relative poverty, which occurs when people do not enjoy a certain minimum level of living standards as determined by government (and enjoyed by the bulk of the population) that vary from country to country, sometimes within the same country and is said to be increasing. Crime can be defined as a law being broken by an over act, omission or neglect that can result in punishment. There are two main types of crime. These are (1) Property crime, which is committed when someone damages, destroys or steals someone else's property, such as stealing a car or vandalizing a building; and (2) Violent crimes which occur when someone harms, attempts to harm, threatens to harm or even conspires to harm someone else. Violent crimes are offenses which involve force or threat of force, such as rape, robbery or homicide. Some crimes can be both property crimes and violent at the same time, for example carjacking someone's vehicle at gunpoint or robbing a convenience store with a handgun.

Most statistics will show you that poverty and crime go hand in hand. Poverty leads to crime in most cases. For example; If John has no job and no food and he finds that the only way...
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