Poverty is the mother of crime, these were the words by Magnus Aurelius that I concur too. Crime is a rampant social and economic problem that exists in all countries including the United States. If one was asked to point out even a single state where there is no crime.
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It would be difficult to point out. However, what remains different are the statistics. There are cities where crimes are so rampant or in certain streets while in others, it is a negligible number. According to a research published by Forbes magazine, Detroit is among the most dangerous cities that exist. Most crimes that happen here are often gang-related ranging from rape, robbery with violence, assault, drugs among other violent crime. St Louis, Atlanta, and Oakland are also part of the list and these high crime rates are due to the high poverty level that is closely linked to unemployment. Over the years, unemployment has been known to be the main cause as to why there are high crime rates in the world. Increased job opportunities as a way of dealing with the increased rate of poverty will eventually lead to a decrease in crime rate.
Unemployment refers to the lack of job opportunities for people who are experienced and have looked for jobs without any success. The unemployment rate is a standard measurement that will often be used by researchers to report how prevalent unemployment rate is. It is obtained by dividing people who are unemployed by the number of individuals who are employed. There is never a time when there is full employment although most countries will often try come up with ways to combat unemployment because of the diverse effects it often has on the economy including increased crime rate. It is obvious how the crime rate will often relate to poverty and unemployment. There is often a lot of frustration when it comes to looking for job opportunities and none are available. We live in a society where everything has a monetary value meaning there is a very slim chance that one may survive (Baron, pg. 399-434). With rent to pay, food to buy and catering for oner’s personal needs, people often resort in engaging in crime.
In the US the unemployment rate varied from state to state. As of 2016, the rate of unemployment ranged from 2.7% in New Hampshire to 6.8 in New Mexico. In 2016, a research established that 5.8% of families include unemployed individual (Heinrich, pg. 52). Children who come from unemployed families are likely to fail. Failing means they are less likely to excel in their career or continue with their education. This results in them turning into rimes as a way of ensuring that they meet their needs. Again we have a link on how unemployment may result in an increased crime rate. More statistics have also shown that when a breadwinner loses a job, families may never recover financially as they can lose up to $140000. In order to ensure these individuals do not turn into criminals, more employment opportunities need to be related in order to ensure that the breadwinners are still able to support their families.
In the modern day, unemployment can occur due to retrenchment or over flooding of the market with qualified individual and thus some people are left out. Without a sociological imagination, a person who has been retrenched would feel helpless as if they have no control over their lives and will keep wondering why they were so easily disposable. If someone were to search or apply for a new form of employment, it would prove quite difficult as more companies will also be trying to make cuts in order to be able to save money, thus employment opportunities get to grow scarcer daily. These rejecting may be too much for someone to handle and would eventually lead to the trapped feeling that Wright talked of in his book. The unemployed individual would be able to understand that this is a worldwide issue and many people face these issues. The government often need to play a great role in ensuring that employment opportunities are not scarce and that companies shouldnt lay off people instead create employment opportunities for them (Farrington, pg. 335-356). This can be done through legislation. The government also needs to provide a conducive environment for the businesses to grow. Times the government are largely to blame for their employment rate. They greatly tax these companies and come up with policies that make it hard for companies to grow. They end up collapsing and shutting down increasing unemployment. These retrenched or people who lose their job may decide to engage in criminal activities.
Garry Becker was among the first economist to analyze the issue of crime while applying an economic model. In his paper Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach, states that like any other individual, thieves are also rational individuals. And through the illegal activities, they want to maximize their wellbeing (Becker, pg. 13-68). Most people who have employment opportunities have the financial capacity to maximize their wellbeing such as life in a good house, drive good cars and provide a good life to their family. However, those without employment opportunities and still want to lead this life will often have to resort to illegal means. Most of these illegal activities are ways which these people are still able to obtain finances and are at times so much more profitable than other jobs, for example selling drugs. This leads to more people being drawn into engaging in these activities. The risk of being rich is much more worth than being caught and this is why most would rather go to jail.
Unemployment will often lead people into desperation points. Not everyone who engages in criminal activity do so because they have a bad heart but some scenarios are as a result of circumstances. When one is not able to cater for their needs it leads them to a point of desperation. Unemployment means there is a likelihood that you may be thrown out of the house due to late payment of rent or that your family will have to go hungry a day or two because there is no money to buy food. This kind of desperation may result in people into stealing or assault in order to survive. The theory of the poor having to steal from the rich. As in the famous 14th century English ballads that starred Robinhood who would steal from the rich and later redistribute to those who had nothing. In the current economy. There is a numerous number of American citizen undergoing economic difficulty. When you are earning zero and you can use a certain means to get the money it is highly likely that you are going to resort to such means.
There is often the discussion of opportunity cost when discussing the crime and unemployment. Ehrlich was another economist who continued with Beckerr’s work stating that criminals will often be involved with illegal and legal activities. By considering this then one can arrive at several reasons on why unemployment, low wages, and poverty promote high crime rates. However, time spent will dedicate which activity one will dedicate in their lives. This brings up the discussion on how profitable legal activities are. It is often argued that when a potential offender despite having the knowledge that if caught will result in sentencing or punishment, but goes ahead to do it then probably the rewards or whatever he wants to achieve is much greater. Consider a group of thieves who would risk being arrested while robbing a bank as they are assured that they will get millions of dollars.
There are other theories that have often disputed the link between crime and unemployment. For a crime to occur there must be offenders and victims. Victims are often the working class and they have some sort of income or business. It is beaus of this that some theorist differs with economies such as Becker. Canto and land are some theorists that believe a decrease in the number of people working who are the victims’ manr’s that there would be a reduction in the number of crimes happening. If there are more people who are unemployed then the people with no jobs will stay in their homes thus reducing the likelihood of their houses being robbed. Also, high unemployment rate means the country is undergoing recession thus there is little for the thieves to steal. These theories, however, are not really accurate because crime is still likely to occur the only variable that may be seen is the percentage.
There has been enough evidence that creating job opportunities is likely to decrease the crime rates. Aside from unemployment leading to poverty, it also creates a lot of free time that may lead one into engaging in illegal activities. The crime rate goes hand in hand with the youth being unable to secure jobs including part-time jobs when they are in their summer break result in deviance among these school going children. Summer jobs are a great aspect of reducing the crime rate. Most cities nowadays are increasing Summer Youth Employment Programs in order to curb increased crime rate in the cities. These programs will often range between 14 to 24 weeks involving the students in high school and college. These jobs are given by both the governmental and non-governmental organizations. The youths are also likely to be involved in violent crimes that may result in their arrest. Providing them with employment opportunities especially when they are home on long summer breaks (Heller, pg. 1219-1223).
There are various ways that the government may use in creating employment opportunities including arming people with skills to enable them to start their own businesses. This was evident in research that was done in DRC Congo. A nonprofit organization referred to as Action on Armed Violence offered to equip agricultural skills to men who were likely to engage in illegal activity including joining fighting mercenary. After they underwent the program, most of these people became more interested in the new activity. As long as an individual has the means to earn money or is able to cater for their families then they are likely to engage in criminal activities. Members who join a gang are easily lured into these gangs because they have no employment opportunities. Increasing employment opportunities means we get to reduce the number of people that are recruited to the gang. When there are few people to be recruited into the gang, then this means that the gang will not have the manpower to conduct their criminal activities thus leading to a decline in the criminal activities.
There were periods when the United States experienced a decline in criminal gang activity and these periods were seen to be the most productive days. The economy was great and there were many people employed. Although not everyone was employed, every household had someone working and they were thus able to meet their basic needs. The years when the United States experienced a reduced crime rate especially in 1990. However, when the great recession occurred, things took a turn. There was a high unemployment rate as things were not working out for the companies. In 2008, the world economy experienced the worst financial crises to have occurred after the Great Depression, which happened in the 1930s. The crisis began in mid-2007 when the high United States home prices finally turned downwards, and the effect spread quickly to the entire financial sector, as well as other financial markets overseas. The country’s largest insurance company, the popular mortgage lender, the entire investment banking industry, the organizations that were given a charter by the federal government to oversee mortgage lending, the largest commercial banks, as well as the largest savings and loan banks were affected greatly. Even though the carnage did not affect the financial sector alone, most of the companies that depended on credit were changed considerably. For instance, the American auto industry that begged for a federal bailout almost got itself at the edge of a deep hole. Additionally, as most banks did not believe that people would pay them back, they stopped making the loans, which most of these companies required for regulating their cash flow, and without these regulations, it would be impossible to do business. During that period, the share value plunged in the entire world, and by 2008, the United States had lost at least 33.8 percent of its value (Palley, pg. 3-17). All these contributed to the high unemployment rate that drove the crime rate up.
Sociological imagination can be related to the issue of unemployment through the example of great depression. During this period the majority of Americans were unemployed and poor. This may have seemed like a very personal issue, but the scale was larger as it affected the majority of the people. Mills, however, targets the issue of unemployment as micro and macro situations. He states that In a city of 100,000, only one is unemployed, that is his personal trouble in a nation of 50 million employees, 15 million people are unemployed that is an issue” (Mills). An issue that many people in the social experience. These statistics are a clear indication that unemployment is not a personal issue but a societyr’s issues. This is why the government needs to come up with better ways to deal with the crime by creating employment opportunities.
Formal jobs, white collar, and blue collar will never be enough for everybody. It is for this reasons the government need to start supporting those who want to be self-employed. This includes giving loans to startup businesses and SMEs. These companies as they grow will create more opportunities creating jobs for several other people who are desperate for employment before they start engaging in illegal activities. More millennials are joining the self-employment wagon which is a good thing. With this pace, it is estimated that the number of self-employed people could double leading to a decrease in the number of unemployed people. Youths are often thought to be the highest number of people affected with unemployment and the bills to pay as well as third studentr’s loan at times prompts them into joining gangs or robbing thus increasing criminal activity. With more job opportunities created, then they will have the necessary source of income to cater for their needs without engaging in illegal activities.
There are reasons however that the government does not really seem to pay attention to the unemployment rate because more people in the country are employed than unemployed. One may observe that in the country with millions of individuals, then having approximately five hundred people who are unemployed may be less urgent compared to a having an issue where there are five hundred people employed in a society (Kelling, 45-97). The society needs to start however realizing that the unemployed become a menace as they will eventually be drawn to the crime life making the life of everyone quite difficult. No jobs, more crime. More Jobs no crime these are the words that would summarize this essay.
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