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This essay will investigate the connection between poverty and crime. It will analyze how socio-economic factors contribute to criminal behavior, discussing the complexity of this relationship and the various perspectives that challenge the notion of poverty as a primary cause of crime. Also at PapersOwl you can find more free essay examples related to Crime.
How it works
“I went searching on the street [for the pills]. Of course, that was more costly, and I didn’t have a job or any money, so I found a way to get money,” Mike Schouten said (Burdziak, 2017). Schouten was a victim of poverty, which led him to become a drug addict and eventually a convicted felon. Poverty and crime have always had an intimate relationship. Meeting basic needs becomes such an overwhelming desire that some individuals will commit crimes like selling narcotics, robberies, and burglaries just to meet their needs. Most impoverished towns have low-quality schools, and when children do not receive basic education, it is likely that they will make bad decisions and turn to crime. Aside from education, studies have shown that single-parent homes also contribute to the relationship between poverty and crime.
Individuals living in poverty constantly struggle to meet their basic needs. This human instinct to survive when unemployed or underemployed can overwhelm an individual to the extent of pushing them to commit robberies or burglaries. Higher unemployment would certainly increase poverty and, at the same time, lead to more crime due to depression associated with being unemployed (Taylor, 2006). Lack of job opportunities and the capability to make an income creates both an emotional and physical strain on the individual, causing a disruption in meeting these needs. According to the International Journal of Law, an unemployed individual between 18 to 29 years is four times more likely to commit a burglary than an individual who is 30 or older in the same situation and three or more times more likely to commit a robbery (Hooda, 2018). The lack of income and the will to meet basic needs are high motives to commit crimes. This age correlation to a crime being higher the younger an individual is could be due to the education received as the child grew up in their home, neighborhood, and school.
How it works
A school is a place where children learn social skills deterring them from engaging in crimes. A future-driven individual is less likely to take any risks associated with criminal activities. Children in poverty can have an actual or perceived inferior education due to the lack of available qualified schools (Holzman-Escareno, n.d.). Poverty can lead to an inadequate education which can spiral down to a lack of income and criminal behavior. The expectation would be for the government to aid public schools and spend more money on quality education. However, in 2009, over a dozen states spent more on their prison systems than they did on education (Mathews, 2012). Given that children are our future, the government should support and help mold them through education regardless of their socioeconomic standing.
Of course, the government funding and the education they receive are not the only factors that help aid a child’s future; parents are the first-line teachers or “molders.” Parents are known to society to serve as a child’s first role model. So, what occurs when a parent is forced to raise their child or children on their own? The difficulty of providing and raising responsible human beings increases. Single-parent families account for 65 percent of poor families with children and over half of all poor families (Barr, 1992). The main perspective of a broken family structure is that children that reside in single-parent households have a much higher chance of becoming involved in crime (Barr, 1992). A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency (Bush, Mullis, Mullis, 2006). With one less parent to monitor, guide, discipline, and instill a moral compass in a child, it is easy for a child or adolescent to make wrong choices. According to a study, most gang members and 75% of adolescent murderers come from single-parent homes (Barr, 1992). The statistics show the connection between crime affiliation in correspondence to having been brought up in a single-family household.
Statistics also show that in 2016, there was a decrease in poverty whilst violent crimes increased. From 2012 to 2016, the poverty rate in the US dropped from 15% to 12.7% (Poverty Rate, 2018). In the same period, the violent crime rate increased by 2.04% (Uniform Crime Report, 2017). In both the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Great Recession from 2007-2009, violent crime did not increase at all (Latzer, 2017). These may lead one to argue that poverty does not influence crime at all.
A one percent decrease may not lead to a decrease in crime; nevertheless, a one percent increase in the population below the poverty level will lead to an increase of about 25 violent crimes and 135 total crimes (Taylor, 2006). Poverty has proven to influence crimes, but violent crimes are not exclusive to poor people. Despite the 2016 reports, often in impoverished neighborhoods, many crimes go unreported (26 Poverty, n.d.). Economic difficulty does not necessarily correlate with violent crimes. Crimes motivated by financial difficulties are typically larceny, robbery, and burglary (Latzer, 2017). Vice versa, violent crimes are also not usually motivated by money.
Poverty can lead an individual to commit theft, robberies, and other violent acts due to the constant stress of meeting basic needs. Lack of quality education may lead adolescents to unemployment or underemployment. With the lack of income, the likelihood of crimes being committed increases. The root cause of both crime and poverty may begin with the unraveling of a family structure.
Although poverty does not always inflate the violent crime rate, it still affects non-violent crime rates. It is evident that an increase in the poverty rate will result in an increase in crime rates. In conclusion, the usage of counterarguments highlights issues and perspectives from a different angle while the rebuttal disputes the counterargument with additional references. The author uses logos to dismiss the clauses by injecting statistics and appropriate reasoning against the opposing argument.
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