Introduction : The Vicious Relationship between Poverty and Crime
Every day we come across several crime reports in various news and media outlets. However, while they cover a lot of details about the crime themselves one important aspect is often left into obscurity. One of the main driving factors behind many incidents of city crime is the vicious relationship between poverty and crime.
In many countries especially ones which have lower GDPs, crime rates are influenced by population density as well as relative poverty. The poverty in India, especially in large metro cities like Kolkata, New Delhi and Mumbai is one of the major that they have become known as a crime city across the world.
But to understand why poverty as a challenge has driven up crime rates in countries across the world in various continents like Africa and even several Latin American countries, we must first understand how Poverty and Crime are two facets of the same coin!
How are Poverty and Crime Related?
One of the first issues that must be addressed is the fact that Poverty and Crime are generational and cannot be eradicated without a proper infrastructure of judicial as well as an educational backbone. In fact, child poverty could be entirely eradicated if basic education and job security would have been made into fundamental rights across the world.
But despite all the advancements that our society has made, we find that modern day technology is taking away jobs from more and more people and the ones who are being affected are at the lowest end of the skill chain and lack means to find gainful employment anywhere else.
This is just one spoke of this vicious wheel, the rest of which we will discuss in brief in the following segments
(1) Lack of Educational Opportunities
The first thing that we need to look into when discussing child poverty and its relationship with Poverty and Crime is the growing rate of criminals in juvenile detention cells across the world. Not all crimes are born equal and some people are forced into a line of criminal work at a very young age because they have no access to education and a proper job.
Studies have shown that the more time spent in an educational environment the more the chances that the person will commit crimes plummet. This is just one instance where situation and lack of money force honest people into committing crimes.
(2) Racial Tensions and Judicial Bigotry
We touched on before how racism was present even in the modern world and this is truer than ever when we look at how racial discrimination is present in judicial systems which tend to convict and sentence people of coloured skin to harsher sentences and have a predisposition to find them guilty based on nothing else but a racial bias.
We find that this is propagated in the job industry as well where the people of colour are looked upon as more likely to commit crimes and are thus passed over for job opportunities.
(3) Increase in Criminal Convictions Causes More Crimes
This might seem counter intuitive at first but we have to remember that Poverty and Crime often share a cause effect relationship. Thus many criminals despite spending time in correctional facilities fail to pick up on a skill that would help them rehabilitate later when they are out of prison.
As a result, this increases the number of repeat offenders who are forced into a life of crime because they have no other avenues of income left at their disposal.
To combat against poverty as a challenge, we must as a society take up our responsibilities more seriously. More often than not for crimes which have been committed due to an abject lack of money are easily avoidable if society would extend a more benevolent hand to those down trodden members of humanity.
Along with this building better and cheaper housing, medical welfare and job security for those below the poverty line are just the tip of the iceberg on what could be done to reduce crime reports especially for a large chunk of city crime.
Wrapping it up in the famous words of Nelson Mandela,
As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.