The goal of this paper is to decide whether there is a relationship between crime and economic conditions. To further expand upon that idea, I will discuss the relationship between crime and the economic conditions. The argument is that crime is being caused by people’s lack of economic resources, meaning that the theory states that crime is caused by poverty.
From the reading, it appears that research is inconclusive. Some research would agree that there is a relationship between crime and economic conditions. Other research says that there is no relationship between the two and that they are two factors that do not affect each other.
The first study on this topic was performed in France in which the researchers wanted to compare rich areas of the nation with areas of the nation that were poor. They were hoping to find that the poor areas of the nation would have more crime than the rich areas. However, the research showed them that wasn’t the truth. From the data they gathered, they found out that the rich areas had a higher amount of crime against property. The conclusion is that since the rich individuals have more money, they have nicer possessions, so there are more situations in which other people can steal these material goods.
There have been numerous studies on whether or not there is a relationship between unemployment and crime among adults. The results from these studies seem to be inconclusive, as well. Some of these studies say there is a relationship, others say there isn’t, and some say there is a relationship between the two but that it is an insignificant one. However, it appears that “increased hourly wages, higher quality jobs, and jobs that last for longer periods of time are associated with decreased property crime” (Vold and Bernard and Snipes, 2002: 89).
A possible reason for the inconclusiveness of a lot of these studies may lie in how the studies define poverty. Different studies use different economic values for what they are going to define as poverty, so that makes it difficult for there to be conclusive evidence when one study uses one numerical figure and another study uses a completely different numerical figure to define the parameters of poverty.
Even though there is some conflicting evidence on whether or not the two factors have a relationship, “at the present time, a reasonably strong case can be made that the economic inequality in a society – i.e., the gap between the richest and the poorest – has a causal impact on the level of violence in that society” (Vold and Bernard and Snipes, 2002: 98). This means that individuals who don’t have the economic resources are more likely to commit criminal actions against those individuals who have a higher income and thus higher social class than the offender does. This seems to be apparent from the first study about this topic that was performed in France. The poor individuals that lived within the wealthy areas were more likely to commit crimes than the other poor individuals with similar conditions but only living in a poor area of the country.
Crime doesn’t appear to rise and fall along with the rising and falling of the number of poor individuals. It isn’t simply just poverty that causes crime, there are other factors that are involved within the situation, such as unemployment, that may increase the likelihood of crimes increasing.