Write a five paragraph essay on Poverty and Crime. In your paper, take a position on whether poverty is a cause of crime. Explain your reasoning and cite your sources, which may include our textbook.
Write a five paragraph essay on Poverty and Crime. In your paper, take a position on whether poverty is a cause of crime. Explain your reasoning and cite your sources, which may include our textbook. Your paper should follow the format for a five-paragraph essay. If you don’t know what that is, you can find a description of the format here:
The Five-Paragraph Essay
Failure to follow the proper structure of a five-paragraph essay could impact your grade on this assignment.
This article is part of what was originally the ‘Poverties project‘ which I ran from 2011-2016. It aimed to make social and economic research on poverty accessible to everyone. It focused on presenting evidence-based causes and solutions as much as possible, although with a pinch of sarcasm or dark humor at times. Hopefully, it helps make the description of certain (horrible) situations more bearable.
Governments trying to deal with the effects of poverty often also have to face the issue of crime as they try to develop their country’s economy and society. Crime prevents businesses from thriving by generating instability and uncertainty (at micro and macroeconomic levels). This is true in markets of all sizes, national, regional, municipal and even neighborhood-al (okay the word doesn’t exist).
That’s why having a business in a ghetto is rarely a good idea.
International organisations also blame crime – including corruption – for putting at risk Africa’s chances of development nowadays. The same goes for Latin America. Crime has this capacity to generate vicious cycles causing unemployment, economic downturns and instability. Poverty and crime combined together leave people with two choices: either take part in criminal activities or try to find legal but quite limited sources of income – when there are any available at all.
Starting from the 1970s, studies in the US pointed more and more at the link between unemployment, poverty and crime. After that other connections with income level, time spent at school, quality of neighborhood and education were revealed as well. Fresh research from the UK even indicates that economic cycles may affect variations in property and violent crimes.
But most importantly, what reveals the unmistakable connection between poverty and crime is that they’re both geographically concentrated – in a strikingly consistent way. In other words, where you find poverty is also where you find crime. Of course this doesn’t include “softer” crimes such as corruption which causes massive damage to people’s lives but in a more indirect type of violence.
During the hard times that have hit Europe from 1975 to 1995, scholars noticed that unemployment among the uneducated youth spurred a massive tendency for theft and violence. In particular in France, the crime rate soared like never before. Ever watched the movie “La Haine” back from 1995? It was translated “Hatred” and “Hate” in the UK & US and has really become the classic of a generation.
Although the depicted segregation against immigrants in France roots back a few decades before the 1990s, the “first wave” (of immigrants) has rarely shown such outburst of violence. In theory the main difference with the first generation of these immigrants’ children is that they have spent much more time at school, as research has often concluded that education tends to reduce violent crime.
On average, the more time you spend at school the less violent you will become. Schools don’t just teach you about history or maths, they teach you how to live in society. But the real problem is: are kids in poor urban areas even going to school at all? Are they learning any social skills when being systematically discriminated against? Research dating back to 1966 – with the famous Coleman Report – shows integration into society is key to better grades and successful education.
Why would anyone follow the “right path” (i.e. schools) if you see that your parents did so and are still jobless or at best exploited and humiliated? Or if your identity and your place in society are constantly questioned, often by the government itself? It certainly won’t help you feel at home.
This is a problem many governments are facing all over the world and they tend to react to demonstrations quite aggressively as they try to please certain groups of voters. By doing so they also forget that the very people they repress are also voters, and that trying to divide a nation will only bring more instability and more violence.
In the countries where the social discrimination factor isn’t very strong, results have shown that less education meant more criminal offenses ranging from property crime to “casual” theft and drug-related offenses (again, mostly theft). But not violence. It appears that in fact, poverty itself is more tied with violence, criminal damage and also drug use – as a catalyst for violence.
There are huge consequences of this kind of research for public policy and the positive impact of keeping children in school and reducing poverty. But for that we would need governments to actually read the research their universities produce! It shouldn’t seem like too much of a stretch to argue that having kids actually graduate from school will in itself contribute to reduce poverty, no?