Poverty and Crimes; Linkages,
Fallacies and Viable Remedies

According
to sociologists and economists, poverty and crime are closely related. The
inherent crime rate and poverty are often and always related (Pare &
Felson, 2014).  Governments in their
attempts to deal with the issue of poverty must contend with the crime. On the
other hand, it is essential to indicate that while crime is a deterrent to
economic growth, poverty is also a motivator of crime. Poverty levels lead to
crime, the higher the level of poverty the higher the crime rate. The concept
of social disorganization can help understand the relationships and the
intrigues of poverty and crime (Warner, 2013).

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The
role of cultural disorganization in the perpetuation of societal vice such as
crime should be understood as an attempt to debunk some of the social and
cultural factors that affect the society at large. Research indicates that in
countries where social discrimination is not massive, lack of education led to
more crimes, but not violence. The given findings indicate that poverty is tied
to violence, drug use, and criminal damage. For that reason, poverty is indeed
a catalyst for crime and violence. Based on these findings, and many more;
poverty and crime are often discussed and evacuated based on linkages and
fallacies. It is on the same basis that viable recommendations are sometimes
made to help solve the problem of poverty in many communities. 

 

 

Linkages between Poverty and Crime

    Just as highlighted in the article, “Crack
in Spanish Harlem: Culture and Economy in the Inner City” by Philippe
Bourgeois’, there is a clear link between poverty and crime (Bourgois, 1989).
The given article highlights the day to day struggles that individuals undergo
to survive. The struggle motivates people to stretch their boundaries and to
engage in criminal activities (Bourgois, 1989). According to Bourgois (1989),
the street bound inner-city residents who are mostly unemployed develop
personal anxiety over the inability to provide the family with minimal
standards of living, and this translates into intra-community crimes
(bourgeois, 1989). Moreover, the structural desperation of a population with no
viable sources of income and under ethnic and ideological marginalization are
always charged into self-destructions, and the same people are likely to engage
in criminal activities.

              Apart from the above analysis, there is a
disturbing link between poverty and crime. Just as Aristotle wrote, “POVERTY is
the parent of CRIME,” the lack of income can drive someone to commit a crime
(Hawkins, 2011). The poor commit more crimes than the middle class or any other
class. The rate of crime among the poor is high due to lack of employment
triggered by societal factors such as lack of appropriate education. For
example, among children who commit the crime, they frequently have a poor
background and are often than not experience family problems. Evidence shows
that poverty is a string driver of violence amongst people (Hawkins, 2011).
Factors such as neighborhood deprivation and economic status of the head of the
house are triggers of economic violence. Moreover, among teenager’s poverty has
a significant direct impact on their likelihood to commit crimes. The same can
lead to other vices such as impulsiveness, drug abuse, and delinquency. In some
extreme cases, violence becomes the identity of poor young people (Hawkins,
2011). Due to social deprivation, these people resort to acts of violence. In the
United States, for instance, the poor teenagers are more likely to be charged
by the police. They are also more likely to be placed on statutory supervision
by a panel compared to rich or affluent teenagers. Based on the given findings,
it is just obvious that poor people both adults and teenagers are more likely
to engage in criminal activities, and hence the strong correlation between
poverty and crime.

Fallacies on Poverty and Crime

    The first fallacy with regard to crime and
poverty is the common belief that poverty is the root cause of crime and also
terrorism. The level of truth in this statement is questionable, in fact, the
truth in this statement can be said to be close to zero. However, despite the
fact that poverty and crime are related, the latter is not the direct cause of
the former. The correlation between poverty and crime is based on other
variables, such as social-cultural factors. For instance, people were poorer in
the 1950s than they are today. During this period, the crime rate was much
lower, and this is a critical evidence as to the content of this fallacy. The
relationship between crime rate and poverty should be looked at in terms of
just correlation and not causation. In simple terms, poverty does not cause
crime, and this is the underlying truth. For example, some of the
characteristics that lead people to become poor are the same characteristics
that promote crime among the same group of people (Bourgois, 1989). For that
reason, when analyzing poverty and Crimes; linkages, fallacies and viable
remedies, one must find out which way the causation goes. Just arguing that
that poverty is the root cause of crime makes one assume that people often
commit crimes because they are poor. Nonetheless, this is not always the case
as already explained and elaborated above. The second fallacy is on income
inequality, and the argument is that the wide disparity between the poor and
the rich is evidence that the system is not fair. The given argument is not
true because translating numbers into a concept that has no relationship to
those numbers in most cases leads to erroneous judgments (Warner, 2013). In
reality, income inequality is often between people of different ages and hence
the translation of numbers into concepts even with respect to crime and poverty
can be misleading.

Viable Remedies

              There are viable remedies for poverty and
crime, the creation of jobs is one of the most critical ways through which this
problem can be alleviated. When people have reliable sources of income, they can
easily get out of poverty and the same can help reduce crime rates. Education
is another key remedy for poverty reduction. The provision of quality and
relevant education makes people acquire skills which can help them in the job
market. On the other hand, educating women can help reduce poverty in the
developing nations, the same can prove viable in reducing poverty in the United
States (Warner, 2013). Social issues such as gender equality and women
empowerment can also translate to income inequality and the same can help
reduce the level of poverty. However, collaboration among the stakeholders both
the government and NGOs can also help solve the problem of poverty and crime.
Social initiatives and government support programs can help reduce the rising level
of poverty among communities (Pare & Felson, 2014).