Poverty and Crime

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 9 November 2016

Poverty and Crime

Relationship between poverty and crime. Name Course University Tutor Date Introduction There is no single definition of poverty. One definition holds that poverty is the society’s standard of living in a particular time and people are said to be poor when they cannot even afford their basic necessities or if their income is insufficient. Crime is the violation of the rule of law as it is stipulated in the constitution. Its increase calls for measures and sanctions that ensure that social order prevails.

There is a correlation between poverty and crime though many who claim that there are some states where poverty is very high have refuted this argument. They argue that the crime in these areas is very is low. This research paper, will discuss intensively about poverty and crime. It will analyze the relationship between poverty and the crime rates, its root causes and means of its eradication. Who are the poor? Poverty is defined differently by various agencies in America. Generally it could be said to be the deprivation of the basic needs such as food, cloth and shelter.

Depending on the standards of living opportunities, employment and respect that fellow citizens enjoy their lives but this does not meet that the set living standard is below poverty line. Poverty can be categorized in to three classes namely absolute poverty, social exclusion and relative poverty. These classes have different resources that would promote harmony between the body and the soul. Relative category denotes lack of resources needed for one to participate fully in issues that affect their life.

The third class of poverty is what is referred to as an area that lacks Begin Match to source 5 in source list: (8-18-03) http://www. ic. gov. au/conferences/cypc/proceedings. pdfa combination ofEnd Match various necessities Begin Match to source 5 in source list: (8-18-03) http://www. aic. gov. au/conferences/cypc/proceedings. pdfsuch as unemployment, poorEnd Match infrastructure, Begin Match to source 5 in source list: (8-18-03) http://www. aic. gov. au/conferences/cypc/proceedings. pdflowEnd Match income and substandard skills. According to the United Nation’s world summit of social development, poverty is a condition in which one is deprived of the basic needs such as food, clean water sanitation, heath and education.

According the 2006 statistics on poverty, the poverty rate in the united state declined from 12. 6%, as it was the case in 2005. When this was translated in to figures it meant that 36. 5 citizens lived in penny, as it was the cases in 2005. Currently about 12% of the population in the United States lives below the poverty threshold. Poverty in America sometimes is not something stable as it fluctuates with time for some people earns more than the set poverty line but in other times, they earn below it. As per the 2001 statistics, minors were the most affected of all groups in the industrialized nations America being the worst because 14. % of the minors lived below the poverty line. This also largely affected the Americans. (Haveman RH. 1987)

According to the United States Research Center, the poverty rate has increased over the recent past from what it has been for over twenty-six years. In the past, it was 11. 3 percent but in 2004 it stood at 12. 7 percent though this gradually declined in the year 2006 to 12. 3 percent. In the period between 2000-2006, the poverty level among the minors significantly increased from 16. 2 percent to 17. 8 percent but in following two years it decline to 17. 4 percent.

Poverty in America varies across race, family, sex and age but America has registered a decline in poverty rate when compared with the 1990’s figures. This could be attributed to the economic depression. The current rate is still bigger than that of the 1970s. As per the United States Census Bureau, it calculates the rate of poverty by assessing the much one earns and his purchasing power. As it is noted above that poverty varies in America, poverty rate is highest among the juniors who are under 18 years. According to a survey that was done in 1998, the poverty rate amongst children was 18. 9% and this was a decrease from the 1997 figure.

The rate of poverty to those who are under six years was 20. 6% in 1998. The rate for those within the bracket of 18-64 was 10. 9%. In 2005 the poverty rate for over those 65 years was 9. 4 percent than that of 2005 which was 10. 1 percent while that of the minors stood at 17. 4% Depending on peoples’ nationality, those who were born in America had a poverty level of 11. 9% or an equivalent of 30. 8 million people in the year 2007 and this was the same as it was in 2006. To the foreigners, the poverty level in 2006 slightly went down to 15. 2% when compared with the 2005 figure and in 207 the figure still went down. Moore D. 2007)

Causes of poverty. Poverty has many causes and some of them are overpopulation, unequal distribution of resources high living standards, lack of proper education and skills, lack of employment, economic and distribution of people in a location, natural disasters. Overpopulation can be linked with poverty. In areas that have a lot of people, there is strain in resources as people tend to deplete them because competition there in but this is not a major cause of poverty in US. The real causes of poverty in USA are low wages and lack of reliable and well paying employment.

In America over two thirds of all poor households with some children rely on only one or two people who are in jobs. However, many of them are in low paying jobs that cannot help them to meet their needs. Many people do not get jobs because of a number of factors. Some of them do not have the required skills while others are handicaps, personal hazards and general inability to perform. In America people who were sometime in the past employed but due to some reasons such as misconducts were dismissed are poor. They could also have been dismissed due to insubordination, unionism or because of participating in strikes.

When people do not get good jobs or are not at all employed, they cannot provide their families with their necessities and hence the high rate of poverty. In America most of the unemployed turn to drug abuse. (Dwarkin R. 2005) Another thing that cause poverty in America is that there is a very high living condition. With little money, it is not possible to get adequate food, shelter and clothing many who claim to be employed are in low paying jobs that pay minimum wages and this is the problem that non employed face. Because USA is a developed nation, the prices of items are very high so anyone earning a dollar a day finds it hard to survive.

For example a Mexican can get one dollar in hour and then buy some food for the family. The same case applies in America where food is very expensive; one may earn five dollars in a day only to spend all of this money on food. Generally life standard in America is very high and for this reason many are considered to live below poverty line. This causes most Americans to have physical and mental disabilities and may lead to pathological disorders. This has been a problem to many because once you get addicted to drugs as your life becomes dependent on them.

In such a situation, then you prioritize drugs instead of other things that are more important. These drugs cause a mind to fail to function properly and for this reason they cannot secure themselves jobs in America. Mental inability, social problem and disability are some of the challenges that Americans face. Disabled people cannot be able to compete effectively in the search for jobs as physically normal people do. Because they have low incomes, their families give them special attention and this puts strain to their meager resources. These people are also isolated by others something that increases the level of social stigma.

Another thing is exclusion in the social processes and this has been another cause of poverty in America. It happens when people do not get a chance of leading a normal life. It occurs to the disabled, the imprisoned and to the people who have language difficulties. The homeless and the ex- prisoners as well as those that are suffering from aids are also affected. These factors have greatly led to the increase in poverty cases. It should be understood that these people though they are not actively participating in social processes, they still require food, shelter and clothing. (Cohen S. 985) Poverty and crime Crime is doing contrary to what is required by the constitution. Many people indulge themselves in criminal activities if they do not meet their basic needs. Most people become criminals because of poverty but it should not be forgotten that others deem it a career. According to the conflict theories, economic strife has been related or associated with crimes. Many people who do not have any other source of their livelihood, result to crimes such as burglary, assault and robbery. Most of these individuals are socially propelled to behave this way due to their poverty level and social alienation.

Increase in per capital income tends to reduce crime rate something that attests to the fact that poverty leads to crime. Crime rate depends on social and cultural factors for example; if many children are born by single mothers then the level of the crime goes up. Most children who are fatherless are more likely to become criminals because they lack proper attention at home as their mother cannot meet their basic needs. They go to the streets to seek solace. Crime rates. There are three things that could be attributed to the rise in crime rates in America. These are for example the rise of outbreaks.

This was one major cause of crimes in the 1986 and in 1960s and 70s there were some family policies that were make which resulted to upsurge in juvenile delinquency. The third cause of crime is the saturation of the criminal systems. (Cassdill H. 1962) This has compromised the fight against crime as prisoners are being sentenced for a shorter period than they should and are prematurely released. When this happens, they leave prisons uncorrected. According to a research that was done by the Kirwan Institute increase in poverty was linked to high-level crime rate.

This is because when the poverty level goes beyond a certain point it invites crime. In the United States, the high rate of illegitimate births is linked to crime prevalence and this is as a result of many single parented households. When these children do not get the proper care that they deserve, they turn to crimes. According to Milton Eisenhower’s foundation, seventy per cent of all African Americans in America have single mothers. While only eighteen per cent of all the whites have single mother. The increase in single motherhood increases the prospects of people indulging themselves in crimes.

Most poor people engage themselves in crimes such as prostitution, selling drugs and even murder while others engage in juvenile crimes. What should be done to control this level of crime rate is to make some reforms in the judicial system to ensure they are more effective. Criminal should be jailed for a term that is equivalent to the crime they committed. The tougher and reasonable judges should be put on the bench to ensure that justice would take its course. Those violent offenders should not be on the loose especially when they are supposed to be serving their term in prison.

This is the only way the high rate of crime could be scaled down. The way forward. There are various ways of eradicating poverty in America and one of them is ensuring that property rights that are respected to the letter. Property rights should be seen as the same as human rights. All American citizens have a right to own property wherever they want. If this is properly addressed the gap between the rich and poor would be reduced. The main cause of crime in USA is because the poor living in close proximity with the rich.

Also those lacking reliable income are forced to look for alternative means of meeting their basic needs. The presence of both rich and the poor people puts the government in a very tricky place, as it is impossible to collect taxes for it is not easy to determine who should pay and who should not. (Smeeding TM et al, 1990) The United States government can reduce the poverty level by providing the poor with some small amount so that they could start some businesses as it was done in the Western States under a program known as a Welfare State in the 20th Century.

Those that should be taken care of are at least the poor and the disabled as they are the most disadvantaged in the society. People are social beings and for this reason they cannot sit back and watch their friends continue suffering so the government should come up with Charity Programs that would allow people to channel assistance of any kind to the poor as the rich might be willing to help them. These organizations should either be voluntary or non-profit making groups.

The United States government should embark on subsidized households and medical issues. The government should also analyze the importance of subsidized medical care than the free governmentally supported health care. The poor should be provided with employment by the government as not all poor people lack the relevant job skills. Lack of employment in America is one reason that increases poverty prevalence so if they are given jobs they would be able to meet their basic necessities and this would help in reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.

The poor should also be helped in accessing free health care. Most poor people do not even afford to go to hospitals once they get sick and stay at home. This also puts strain on their meager income making them to become even poorer. The government should also offer free family planning programs as many who turn to be criminals are from those households that do not provide them with proper attention.

Children from single parented households and especially those that are headed by the mother are more likely to result into becoming criminals. These families should be provided with some family allowances by the government so as they would take care of children properly to avoid them being attracted to become juvenile criminals. The poor who mostly live in ghettos should be provided with better housing facilities for example the government should upgrade these ghettos so that they would enjoy life just like the rich do.

This would help in bridging the gap between the rich and the poor Currently the talk on poverty is still on going and has become a campaign tool among the presidential candidates. They are promising Americans what they will do once they become the next US president come the 2008 Election. Obama who is one of these candidates promised the Americans that he would establish Twenty Promise Households and especially in the areas that are affected by high levels of poverty and crime. They would operate just like the Harlem Children’s Home operates.

He said he will spend about six US dollars on this program and this will benefit the Harlem, the Town Hall Education and the Town Hall Education. (Kristof N. D. 2008) Both Edward and Obama are challenging Hillary Clinton who up to now has not come up with any poverty reduction proposal. Obama’s speech was mainly on urban and rural areas and most particularly on city initiatives while Edward focused on this poverty issue might have a lot of impact on who will be chosen as the president of the United States of America.

Edward said that he would relocate the poor families so that they would be in a place where they would easily access jobs and other facilities. From the research findings, it is safe to conclude that poverty greatly contributes to the rise in crime level that is both are interrelated. This is evident in that poor people inhabit regions that register high crime rate. (Kristof N. D. 2008) When poor people lack their basic needs, they resort to crimes such as drug selling and trafficking, juvenile delinquency and assaults.

There are various measures that if they are undertaken, the crime level would definitely go down and some of these are to strengthen the correction and judicial system and to empower the poor people so that the gap between the rich and poor would be closed. This is something that is of prime concern to the 2008 presidential candidates such as Obama who promised to boost the cities initiative especially those that work to help the poor. Indeed, there is a relationship between poverty and crime prevalence in United States of America. Most of the crimes occur in areas that are occupied by the poor people.

When people are wallowing in poverty they are prone to indulge themselves in criminal acts. In order to reduce the rate of crime, the government should try to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. The poor should be economically be strengthened and their living standards be uplifted. Houses in the ghettos should be upgraded to improve the quality of life for the poor. To reduce the level of crimes, the judicial system should be adjusted so as to make it more effective. The laws should be enforced to ensure they are followed to the letter.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 9 November 2016

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