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Crime vs. Poverty – Essay

Victimized or Commit More Crime than the Rich? Shaven Harrison com 220 May 2, 2010 Jodi Galvan While Geographic regions within the US have deferent characteristics and therefore lead to differing levels of both crime and poverty, evidence greatly suggests that Increases In poverty lead to Increased violent crime.. Does poverty constitute crime? Growing up in Charlotte and living in some of the most poverty stricken neighborhoods, all I heard was different stories of criminal activities.

What we will discuss In this paper is the rate of reported crimes in the icier clues verses the poorer scales, the crime mapping in the Charlotte area. Will more police presence In the community mean less crime? I will also go Into international statistics to answer the question, “Does poverty make crime? Poverty either causes or adds to Just about every other social ill, including hunger, injustice and a lack of health, education, shelter and more. Poverty keeps people from getting a good education, which in turn keeps them from having a good Job.

Poverty is a main catalyst for slavery and human trafficking, because people feel trapped into selling themselves or their children to get money to survive. Poverty keeps people living on the streets without adequate health care or roofs over their heads. People who have plenty of connections and resources such as relationships and money are far less likely to struggle personally with these issues. They may deal with illiteracy, but they have the help of schools and other educational services. They may have health problems, but they can usually afford the care they need.

If they are accused of a crime, they can afford legal counsel. Because poverty Is often hidden In western culture, It makes It hard for many of us to relate. We tend to avoid even the cost poverty-stricken areas of our own cities because we think thieve the “bad areas” of town. So whether the poor are in another country or on the other side of the tracks, we still consider them to be “over there. ” In this way, we have become either unaware of, or numb to, the poverty both within our country and around the world.

In the US, 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, age distribution, and locality in the US, are correlated with crime and 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 lad In crime reduction or If money and effort should go to other areas.

Well let’s minimal requirements necessary to sustain a reasonably healthy existence (doesn’t have enough for adequate, food, clothing and shelter)- life threatening Relative poverty is one’s economic position with regard to the living standards of the majority in any given society (low income and standard of living compared to others). This is ore difficult to define because it is based on cultural ideas about quality of life in a society. Poverty line is the amount of yearly income a family requires in order to meet its basic needs according to the federal government.

This is intended to get at poverty in absolute sense. Poverty can be defined either in terms of a definite income level or as a relative condition that changes as society redefines it. Most economists agree that a safe definition of poverty is the inability, through lack of income or wealth, to provide decent housing, clothing, health care, nutrition, or education for oneself or one’s family. Federal Government uses Oarsman’s index to define poverty. This is adjusted for family size and it is computed as the estimated cash to minimally meet food needs times 3.

It is based on income rather than resources and ignores many non-cash benefits such as food stamps, school lunches, Medicaid, housing subsidies, educational grants and loans. It ignores wealth like owning a farm is not counted. Oarsman’s index also underestimate poverty because it is based on a survey that was prepared 30 years ago and housing, educational, medical, and child care costs claim a bigger share now. It doesn’t adjust for alimony payments, child support, work related expenses, out-of-pocket medical costs, etc.

Crime and violence have come to dominate the national discourse, and this context has generated the federal crime bill now under consideration by Congress. Shortly after Bill Silicon’s stimulus package to create Jobs went down in defeat, the Senate somehow managed to find $22 billion for a crime bill. The hallmark of capitalism is its respect for individual rights, including property rights, of which crimes such as assault and robbery are cardinal violations. Such crimes interfere with the peaceful operation of he free market, and accordingly diminish the benefits of capitalism.

Given the high crime rate in the inner city, black residents benefit far less from capitalism than they otherwise would, and are less well off economically. It is by violating the principles of a safe and productive society that crime promotes poverty. Crime impoverishes both perpetrator and victim. Despite the loot that a criminal gains from crime, he risks retaliation by his victims, rival criminals or the police. And once he becomes an ex- convict, it becomes far more difficult for him to find a Job.

The criminal records and exulting unemployment that young criminals create for themselves severely undercut their chances for success later in life. Even if youthful offenders are never caught or imprisoned, their preoccupation with crime and with gang violence interferes with their schooling and their preparation for future employment. Crime also impoverishes both the criminal’s and the victim’s family. A father who is murdered, or in Jail is incapable of providing for his wife and children, thereby depriving them of a source of income.

The high rates of incarceration and of intra- racial murder among African American men are a principal cause of the large umber of female-headed households in the inner city. These single-parent families are poorer and less stable, because they lack fatherly support. A reduction in crime have often coped with poverty by operating small, family owned businesses, this option is unavailable to the family whose father is dead or in Jail and whose children are in constant trouble with the law Many people disagree about how much poverty affects crime rates, if it does at all.

While many poor people turn to crime, and many people with criminal records have trouble escaping poverty, the two aren’t hopelessly linked. Rather, it’s the setbacks and disadvantages that often come with poverty, more than poverty itself, that affect crime rates. If poverty automatically led to crime, then crime rates would rise when poverty rates rise, and the world’s poorest nations would also be the world’s most crime-ridden. Many ordinary people get caught up in a big myth, that poor people are more likely to do crime which I found out not to be true.

That myth could make people overlook criminals from the middle- and upper-classes which to me affect a lot more people maliciously. “People in poverty might commit crimes of aspiration; white-collar criminals often commit crimes of opportunity’ (Macaroni, 2005). Factors often associated with poverty could affect a community’s crime rate more than simple income levels. Those factors include housing values and conditions, education levels, chronic unemployment. Studies have shown that children of single-parent homes are more likely to both live in poverty and commit crimes (Vogel, 2008).

Poverty’s effects on crime can be explained through a variety of reasons. Brills (1993) stated, “There is a higher rate of mental illness in the poor than in the rich” (p. 40). Poverty can lead to high levels of stress that in turn may lead individuals to commit theft, robbery, or other violent acts. Moreover, poverty may lead to an actual or perceived inferior education, which would cause youth to count on less access to quality schools, Jobs, and role models, decreasing the opportunity costs of crime and increasing the probability of youth spending time on the street associating with gangs, etc (Ludwig).

Variations in the composition of population can affect crime in different ways. First, adolescents are often responsible for crimes committed. According to Brills (1993), “The poor delinquent child… s more apt to be expelled from school or have a police record than a well-to-do delinquent… ” (P. 40). A higher percentage of inhabitants under the age of twenty-five may lead to higher crime rates. On the other hand, the elderly, because of their possessions and vulnerability, are believed to be the most frequent victims of crime.

The degree of minority population in an area is also correlated with poverty due to the disproportional amount of minorities living in impoverished urban areas. In addition, racism towards minorities can lead to lower wages and fewer Jobs, resulting in higher poverty rates. In 1995, all Metropolitan Areas with unemployment rates over 12% also had a population composed of at least 30% minorities. Geographic regions within the US have different characteristics and therefore lead to differing levels of both crime and poverty.

The 1999 1-JAR report, for example, indicates that law enforcement personnel varied between 2. 5 and 4. 3 persons per 1000 population among differing regions of the US. Climate, associated with geographical location, is also believed to affect crime – more temperate climates being positively correlated with crime. Cultural factors such as recreational activities, egging of the US and influence crime. Because of the manner in which population density influences living conditions (IEEE: houses vs.. Apartment complexes), it is also likely to be correlated with both poverty and crime.

Studies according to Short (1997), have found that “more densely populated neighborhoods tend to be poorer, have higher percentages of persons in the age range of 12 to 20, have larger concentrations of single-parent households, and larger nonwhite populations” (p. 52). This study first examines how poverty affects crime in the simple regression model. Then, controlling for the aforementioned factors – race, unemployment, arsenal income, population density, geographic location, and age distribution – it again examines the relationship between crime and poverty and how this relationship is influenced when these factors are held constant.

The Data Book obtains crime data from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which consists of data voluntarily submitted to either the FBI or state CUR Programs by law enforcement agencies across the United States. The two dependent variables in this study are based on this data. “Total Crime” represents the seven index crimes: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, regular, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. These are known as “index crimes” because of their seriousness, frequency of occurrence, and likelihood of being reported to police. Violent Crime” represents the four violent crimes as defined by the I-JAR program: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The crime data are reported as crime rates – the number of crimes committed per 100,000 inhabitants. Although “Violent Crime” is incorporated into “Total Crime,” it is used in this study to determine if poverty has effects specific o violent crimes; it also provides a second data set to observe. (A-9) Unemployment data are based on the Current Population Survey, which are annual averages of monthly figures.

The unemployed “are all civilians who did not work during the survey week, who were available for work during the survey week (except for temporary illness), and who made specific efforts to find a Job in the prior 4 weeks. Persons waiting to be recalled too Job from which they had been laid off also are counted as unemployed” (A-1 1). Personal Income per Capita figures, as found in the Data Book, were taken from he Survey of Current Business conducted by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. They consist of the personal income received by, or on behalf of, all members of the area less personal contributions for social insurance.

That total is then divided by the resident population. The figures provide a picture of the overall wealth of the area. In both regressions, the estimated coefficient of poverty is very significant. These regressions show that a one percent increase in the population below poverty level will lead to an increase of about 135 total crimes and about 25 violent crimes. The estimated coefficient of poverty shows that holding all the other variables constant, a 1% increase in the population under the poverty level will increase total crimes by 134 per 100,000 inhabitants.