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Crime and Its Causes
The problem of crime has been a constant menace to society. From petty theft to robbery with violence, crime continues to be a migraine to the government of the day. The rise in crime rates over many states is alarming, and testament of the myriad of challenges that face society. The need to overcome the majority of these problems has led many a government into seeking solutions to a problem of which they do not know the causes. All through the United States of America, the causes of crime seem to be identical in nature. The war the government wages against crime can only be won with a deep understanding of the roots of this vice. In order to overcome crime in modern USA society, the government must have a deep understanding of the causes of crime, and the factors that lead to increased crime levels in society. This paper attempts to uncover the causes of crime and the causal linkage, if any, between these causes and the rampancy of crime.
Crime persists as one of the challenges societies face. The constant rise in crime rates the United States over is a certain cause for alarm. This is because many neighborhoods, which are at the grassroots of crime, continue to feel the adverse effects of this problem (Darrow, 2009). Many young men and women lose their lives daily because of crime in one way or another. Many are part of the criminal gangs that control neighborhoods, and even more are victims of robbery and homicide.
It is necessary to fix this problem, and the only way to do so is to understand the causes of crime in their entire scope (Burke, Tomlinson, Cooper, 2011). This is because the only way to fix a problem as big as this one is by first understanding its causes. There is a great need to grasp the full understanding of the causes of crime in order to effectively combat this problem. In almost all the neighborhoods in which crime is a constant threat, there are a number of baseline underlying factors that are responsible for this high crime rates. The need to address these underlying factors is high as this is the only way crime can be significantly reduced all over the United States of America.
The countless efforts to solve the menace of crime in many American neighborhoods is testament of the need to understand the causes of crime. Factors such as poverty, low education levels and unemployment have been instrumental in perpetuating this problem. This is because many of the perpetrators of crime have been found to have these traits in common. Based on this, it is necessary to address these factors in a conclusive manner, to prevent further growth of these cancerous tumors that continue to eat away society. Only by addressing these factors, will society witness reduced crime rates.
It is mandatory that the causes of crime are understood, in order to reduce the rampancy of crime in the United States of America. This research is geared at understanding the causes of crime in all the neighborhoods of the United States of America (Dressler, 2002). It is aimed at getting the full understanding of these problems in order to solve the problem of crime. By determining the baseline causes of crime in American neighborhoods, efforts to curb, crime can be taken. Taking these efforts from an informed point of view is vital in guaranteeing the successful prevention of crime in America.
The recent drops in crime rates all over the United State of America have been met with jubilant citizens. These citizens are happy that their societies are much safer than they had been before the surveys were conducted. However, reduced crime rates do not spell absence of any crime at all, seeing that many innocent civilians continue to be the victims of heinous crimes ranging from sexual assault to robbery with violence. This is a great impediment to society since it highlights the sad reality that the underlying causes of crime have not yet been addressed.
The current condition is similar to that of a physician prescribing medicine to soothe the patient’s pain, without actually curing the disease causing the pain. The need for the underlying causes of crime in the United States of America to be addressed is very great. Many civilians suffer because of a few individuals who wield no power per se, except the power of a gun or a club at hand. There is growing concern that the government, in collaboration with its security organs, is doing very little to address the menace of crime. These forces are primarily concerned about punishing the perpetrators of crime while paying lip service to the actual causes of crime in the United States of America today. The case of Florida is a good example of the sad reality concerning crime in the American society at the moment.
Causes of Crime in Florida
The causes of crime can be defined as biological, sociological or even psychological. This is because the underlying causes of crime depend on the biological and psychological state of the individual, as well as the social circles in which the individual resides . The deadly combination of these forces is capable of churning out extremely violent, hardcore criminals out of young men and women. Among the leading causes of crime in Florida and the United States of America, is peer influence. A vast majority of the perpetrators of crime, up to 90%, are young men who have been influenced negatively by the society in which they live. Peer influence takes advantage of two main aspects to guarantee success; that is weakness and poor judgment.
The nature of many young men and women pushes them into conforming to the socially acceptable standards in the various aspects of their lives. Many of these aspects include drugs, alcohol, sex, money and even fashion. The ability of the few rotten tomatoes among the young men and women to manipulate others into crime as a means of social conformity plays a central role in the propagation of crime.
Many youths believe that getting into crime will make them popular, will make them respected and will give them the money they need to conform in terms of drugs, sex, alcohol and fashion. The psychological and emotional weaknesses present in many of these youths prevent them from refusing to conform to ‘socially acceptable standards’. The fact that many of these youths are unable to control their own wills leaves them at the mercy of the many ‘wolves’, waiting to increase the numbers of their gang members.
Poor parenting is also one of the leading causes of crime in Florida and the United States at large. The power that a good household has in shaping the characters and mentalities of growing children cannot be underestimated. All human beings have an innate desire to belong, and this desire is extended to cover the desire to belong in a family (Crutchfield, 2000). Young children are especially vulnerable to this desire, and they wish to belong to a complete family. However, the recent rising trend in single-parent households plays an essential role in the propagation of crime. In Florida, a survey conducted found out that children who have grown up in fatherless households are more likely to commit crimes than children who have grown up in normal households.
The absence of a father figure to guide and mold the characters of men in their growth process results, in children raising themselves. Many youths, particularly young men, have been fooled into believing that joining a gang and killing many innocent people, is the way to prove oneself as a man. This has been detrimental in the fight against crime, seeing that many youths grow up with false notions of manhood: notions that revolve around crime, assault and violence.
The failure of parents to control, supervise and monitor their children’s habits also plays a role in crime. A family may be complete, but failure of parents to direct their children in the right paths results, in misguided children that can be easily lured into vices such as crime and prostitution. It is necessary that parents dedicate themselves to guiding their children in the right paths.
The distinct relation between poverty and crime rates cannot go overlooked. This is because it is normal to have high crime rates in neighborhoods or regions that experience high poverty levels. Poverty forces many individuals to live below the accepted standards that a human being should live in, in society. The absence, or lack thereof, of money to cater for the needs of individuals and families forces many of these members of society into crime. It is no secret that a crime has the potential of making quick, easy money, but is also no secret that it comes at a price.
Many individuals weigh their possible success against their chances of getting caught and possible punishment, and the result is a no-brainer. Many individuals think about their families staying hungry and without the basic needs and the thought of that force many of them into crime as a means of survival. Although human beings are very different from animals, the world is not much different from a jungle, and only the fittest survive.
Many individuals have to look for a means of survival in order to guarantee that they will live to see another day (Zimring, Hawkins, 2009). The high unemployment rates do little to curtail the spread of crime among the population, seeing that many individuals do not have employment that keeps them away from crime. The correlation between high unemployment rates and crime rates is outright visible, and there is a need to provide employment to many idle youths who have the potential of venturing into crime.
The affection that many Americans have to material things goes back a long time in history. This affection is not restricted to Americans only, but to the entire global population. The desire to live in good houses, drive good cars, wear fashionable clothes and live an extravagant life has a great influence on the minds of many Americans. It is not surprising then that many young Americans rarely dream of career success, but instead, of being rich.
It is the dream of many, but very few have the opportunity to witness their dreams become reality in a legal and honest manner. The bulk of the population, which is forced to contend with settling for way less than they had hoped for, is forced to look for a way of making their dreams realities, as well (Longford, 1958). Many of these individuals engage in crime as a form of getting the money they are incapable of getting legally. The result is a crime-infested society that sees countless crimes in fraud, petty theft, and robbery with violence and even burglary. This pushes the crime rate in Florida, as well as the rest of America, a couple of notches higher than it was.
Deprived neighborhoods have some of the highest crime rates in Florida. The absence of social amenities and luxuries that other, more affluent, neighborhoods enjoy forces many youths into crime. The realization that these neighborhoods are unlikely to change into the neighborhoods they ought to be, leaves only one option for many young men and women-break out of the poverty chain and move from the neighborhood.
The fact that this is a difficult feat to achieve in the right and legal manner leaves many opting for crime (Reamer, 2005). The effect that these neighborhoods have on the crime rates is very significant. It instills within the youths, a desire to breakout of the poverty chain they live in at whatever cost. Some of these youths opt to develop their talents, especially in sports and athletics while some opt for crime.
The few who make it through the use of their talent successfully breakout of the poverty chain, but the many who fail to succeed end up frustrated and still in the poverty-ridden neighborhoods they desperately wanted to leave. Many of those who fail, end up as gangsters or mobsters in their towns and neighborhoods. The result is a big boost to the crime rates of the society in which they live.
The need to have equality in all the neighborhoods, in America, is a pressing one. It is instrumental in removing the feelings of discrimination and favoritism that many individuals in deprived neighborhoods feel. The alleviation of these feelings will play a great role in the fight against crime, seeing that individuals in these neighborhoods have one-less incentive to venture into crime as a ‘career’ than they did before these feelings are removed. This will help to reduce the crime rates in Florida and the United States of America (Burkhead, 2005).
The case in Florida is not much different from that of the United States in general. Other factors among them deprived neighborhoods, corruption, poverty and unemployment also play a key role in the propagation of crime not only in Florida, but also in America.
The causes of crime in Florida are the same causes of crime in the United States of America. The states of America are all similar in their economic patterns. Although some states are richer than others, in every state there are the privileged citizens and the underprivileged citizens. The incentives to commit crime are similar in all states and so the causes of crime are the same in all the states of America.
The research into crime and its causes are aimed at understanding the causes of crime, not in one of the states of America, but in the whole of America. It seeks to unearth the underlying causes that push many youths into the world of crime. It seeks to look at the baseline causes of crime in all the states of America and determine if the causes are the same.
This research was conducted to highlight the causes of crime. The primary audiences that it is targeting include the Federal government, the State government, schools and youth. These organs are the key players in the propagation of crime, and possibly the key players in curbing crime, as well. It aims to enlighten these players on their roles in propagation of crime, and suggest possible ways they can help in the fight against crime.
The variables in this study remain to be crime and the causes of crime. Crime is the dependent variable while the causes of crime are the independent variables. The nature of crimes that are committed in the United States of America is very diverse. However, the underlying causes of crime are all the same.
Sources of Data
Some of the data sources include journals, research papers, and books that highlight the causes of crime in the United States of America. Census reports from the government will also be used to highlight the population composition of crime prone areas. These reports will also identify the areas most affected by crime and the possible triggers of crime in these areas. Crime reports by security agencies such as Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will be instrumental in understanding the causes of crime.
Data Collection Instruments and Procedures
Data collection for this study will depend on content analysis of the data sources used. The bulk of information that will be collected on crime rates and the causes of crime will most likely be in the form of reports; warranting the application on content analysis as the preferred method of research analysis. The causes of crime in the United States of America form the unit of analysis for this study.
Data Analysis and Interpretation
The causes of crime in the United States will be sought out following a baseline approach. The causes will first be grouped as sociological, psychological or biological. This will narrow the varying causes into three groups. These causes will then be analyzed to determine if some are sub-causes of others. This will produce the main causes of crime in the United States.
The research into the causes of crime has yielded a number of causes that have appeared in all the states of America. It is noteworthy that a majority of these causes are sociological, with very few being psychological.
Among the psychological causes of crime in the United States of America are poor judgment and psychological weakness. Many of the perpetrators of crimes are, more often than not, the handymen or women. The crime bosses do very little to soil their hands. The fact that many of these individuals give into pressures to join criminal gangs, is enough evidence of the apparent psychological weakness that many of these individuals suffer.
Their inability to stand their ground is responsible for their recruitment into crime. Many individuals that venture into crime do it as a means of survival, and rarely view their actions as crimes. Their actions are centered on their survival, and as long as they are not caught, they do not view their actions as criminal offences. This is the most common flaw that criminals share.
The sociological causes of crime are the main causes of crime. These causes can be further divided into causes within the institution of the family and causes within the society in general. The causes of crime that stem from the family include lack of love to children, generational cycles and poor parenting. The failure of parents to show their children love results in many children looking for avenues of overcoming the feelings of neglect they bear.
More often than not, the avenue is crime. In many families, crime also seems to be a ‘hereditary’ aspect of their lives. Many individuals, who have ever been convicted of or taken part in crimes, have at least one family member that has experienced the same thing. It is not possible to prove whether this is a genetically hereditary trait, however. The high rates of absentee fathers push many young men into crime. These fathers are absent either due to abandonment, neglect or serving jail terms. These factors contribute to crime by affecting the institution of the family.
The general aspects of society that are responsible for crime include corruption, media violence, deprived neighborhoods and poverty and unemployment. Corruption in government security agencies plays a primary role in criminal activity. The inability of security agencies to tackle crime effectively due to vices such as bribery and conflict of interest is a common feature in America (Tipp, Buggey, 2001). Many security officers receive bribes from criminals or have stakes in criminal activities such as drug trafficking.
This makes the fight against crime a difficult one. Many young children get their perceptions of violence from the media. From the deep affection of the American public towards crime-fighting superheroes to movies and videogames that depict violence, many youths itch to live out these fantasies. The result is a group of youth that will commit crimes as a result of the actions they witness.
Deprived neighborhoods are huge influences on the lives of many youths. The fact that the youths in these neighborhoods are incapable of accessing some basic social amenities leaves many of them frustrated. The inability of the government to provide these amenities is countered with a youth force ready to engage in crime to obtain that which the government has failed to provide. Another common feature of these neighborhoods is high unemployment and poverty rates. These only serve as incentives for the youths to commit crimes, seeing that many desperately desire to escape poverty.
The decreased levels of crime over the past two decades are a blessing to the American society, albeit with a catch. This is because even though the crime rates in America have dropped, crime still remains a constant headache to the government and citizens alike. Many individuals continue suffering at the hands of a few individuals that have taken up crime as their ‘careers’. Insofar as punishing criminals is concerned, the government performs remarkably well.
However, addressing the underlying factors that are responsible for crime in society are waters the government is reluctant to sail. This is because the government is in charge of these issues, and admitting these problems would mean the government will be its own critic. Many of the sociological factors that are causes of crime can be dealt with squarely by the government, but stiff resistance from the government is a hurdle that still must be overcome.
The states of America are all identical when it comes to their criminal genes. Each state may have different crime rates and different age groups of criminals, but the underlying factors remain the same. The problem of child neglect is one that America continues to grapple with daily. The looming collapse of the institution of the family plays a keynote role in the perpetuation of crime in America. Many children are molded and raised up by society, rather than by their parents. In the event that the society is one rotten with countless vices, it does not take a rocket scientist to project the future of these children. The desire of parents to fulfill their dreams in their academics, careers and businesses, at the expense of their children, leaves many children to raising themselves. This is a role that any rotten society hardly passes out on taking. The lack of good role models in the family and society plays a central in encouraging crime within the youths of America.
The growing popularity of violence in society is also a leading factor in the propagation of crime in society. Many children grow up witnessing violence in their societies, and in different forms of media, to the point that it no longer surprises them. Many children now perceive violence as a part of society that they have to accept and possibly adopt. The result is a large number of innocent youths engaging in violent acts either to prove themselves as strong, or to mimic what the media fraternity has taught them to hold as true. Cases of assault continue to rise with each passing day, highlighting the precarious position society is in today.
The causes of crime in the United States of America include poverty unemployment, peer influence, psychological weaknesses, deprived neighborhoods, media violence, poor parenting, corruption and generational cycles. The sad reality remains that these problems cut across all 50 states of the USA, as a testament of the deep rooted nature of the causes of crime in America.
America finds herself at a very critical time in history. The causes of crime are no longer platonic, but instead have become traits that many in society today consider social norms. Crime now gets plenty of praise and is regarded as a means of survival by a significant number of youth. This highlights the danger society faces. Seeing that many of the causes of crime are deeply rooted in society, the fight against crime in the USA is now tougher than it previously was.
The society has reached a point of inflection, in which it must question its morals and social norms if the fight against crime must be won (Farrington, Welsh, 2007). The recent drops in crime rates do not count for anything; if all the government does is punish criminal offenders. Too much of anything is poison, and the government has focused on punishment for too long a time. The time has come for the government to consider a different approach to tackling crime. This new approach dictates addressing the causes of crime in the United States of America.
The government should consider introducing programs that teach the youth how to deal with peer pressure into the education curriculum as early as grade school.
The institution of the family must receive more attention from the government than it previously did. The government pays a lot of attention to the plight of children in the event of a divorce or death of parents. It is time that the government also pays attention to the upbringing that children in America receive.
Unemployment continues to be an impediment to the fight against crime. The government should create more jobs than it already has, to stop idle youth from engaging in criminal activity.
Equality is a central factor of American culture, seeing that it is also enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. This equality should not stop at people, and neighborhoods must also be made equal. The government should ensure that all neighborhoods in America have access to the same facilities and social amenities (Bohm, Walker, 2005).
The government should set up more stringent regulations governing the display of violence in different forms of media, among them the internet, television and videogames than the present ones. The government must address corruption in security agencies to help in the fight against crime.
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What is the main cause of crime and its imperative relationship to poverty? Such a question at first may seem unanswerable because we could never pin point the exact cause of such worldwide problems. Crime and poverty have been around from time was time and there is no doubt that crime is on the increase not only in the world but also in Belize.
During these past years, Belize has been infested with an outbreak of crime and violence and it appears to be at its peak. And the reason for this is many, for instance, the principal and most evident of them all would be the increasing rate of poverty that Belize has been experiencing owing to the vast opening in the midst of the poor and the rich that appears to be widening on a daily basis rather than closing up. The poor people of Belize see no other means to endurance and to stay alive and feel that they must resort to their last alternative, stealing, the most commonest form of crime found in Belize. Adding to this would be the high rate of unemployment that exists in our society mainly brought about by lack of education. So again, the only way for the uneducated, unemployed, and poor people to outlive such a way of living is once again resorting to a world of crime.
Nevertheless, although there are many who see crime as a means of survival there are others who indulge in criminal acts for mere fun. For instance, those who are members of the call color gangs, choose to live a life of crime and violence because they believe it is cool to be bad. This gang problem has been triggered by the American television and their way of life, because by watching television we see how the American carry out their lives and we imitate them and do the same. So crime in Belize has reached its high point and the cause are many, but do we stop to ask, what is the solution to such problems? And do we really take time out to really answer the question? And if we do, do we find methods or means to deal with the problem? There are solutions to any problem and the solution to crime is no exception. Crime in Belize has gone beyond our reach because we have let it slip, this is so because we allow criminals to get away with criminal acts. There is a need to implement more severe punishments to crimes committed so as to set examples for other criminals who have not reached to an ex5reme, the laws need to be revised and be placed in enforcement and this can only be done by more police action. There is a need to educate the Belizean children and lead them to a better life, take them off the streets and teach them right from wrong. There is also a need to alleviate poverty so as to lower the high percentage of violence and crime both in urban and rural areas of Belize because by alleviating these problems there would be less criminals resorting to stealing as a means of survival. Therefore, one way of trying to solve or alleviate the problem is by being a united country and by voicing our opinions to those who can truly help make a difference; like the lawmakers and politicians.
What is Crime?
When you think of crime and criminals, you probably think of the dangerous looking characters you see played on television or in the movies. But there are lawbreakers like these in real life, too, and you read about their crimes every week in the newspaper. What exactly, is a crime then? A crime is any act, which breaks the law or fails to obey some requirement of the law. According to this definition, anyone who smokes in a bus or breaks a traffic regulation is guilty of committing a crime. These minor crimes are called misdemeanors. More serious crimes are called felonies. Felonies include all crimes that are punishable by more than a year in jail.
Types of Crimes
Crime has been on the increase in Belize, as in all countries of the world. In these past years, we have seen an increase in all types of crime. For example, crimes of violence, which are crimes committed against persons. Murder, one of the most serious crimes of violence and one of the major ones that have been seen for through the past years, especially among gang members. Aggravated assault is another form of crime that has to do with any kind of physical injury that is done intentionally to another person. There are also crimes against property, theft or stealing that are among the most common crimes committed in Belize. Associated with above mentioned is robbery, where property is taken from someone by causing him to fear for his life or by threatening him with violence. Another form of this already mentioned crime is burglary, where the entering of a home with the intention to steal.
Crime and its Causes
It is shocking to see that young people commit the highest percentage of crime. Evidence shows that most people arrested for crimes each year are between the ages of 18-25 or sometimes even younger. So then, the questions come up, why are young people lawbreakers? What cusses them to commit criminal acts? It is obvious that all the reasons are not certain because young people are many times hard to understand, thus, it is difficult to find out what makes them behave as they do. But according to experts’ world wide, who for many years have studied the problem, there are many things that bring about or that seem to give grounds to youngsters indulging in criminal acts.
For instance, the primary reason that should be taken into consideration is poor home conditions, which play a part in the cause of young criminals. Many young criminals come from homes where parents may take no responsibility for their children. In such homes, the parent may not get along well together, and they may show little concern for the welfare and education of their children. The great numbers of slum areas in our country, mainly the city, often have a high rate of criminal activity. Places where families are crowded together in unpleasant dwellings, young people are most likely to get into trouble. Sometimes, their actions are simply a search for thrills and adventures. There are many who break the law really as an attempt to get even with the society for the kind of life they have to endure in the slums. To add to this, and also sharing the primary cause would be would be a means to survival. Many people who live in poor conditions sometimes have no other way of maintaining their homes so they resort to stealing. They are of the opinion that the only way to survive the day to day hardship is to indulge in a life of crime and one of the main reasons for their behaviors are the law of employment. Unemployment play a massive role in the cause of crime because the people feel that if they can no9t work to sustain themselves they must steal in order to keep their selves and their families surviving. Therefore, the poor home conditions and the feeling of survival is one of the main causes of crime in our country just as it is for most of the other countries in the world.
Another reason that encourages crime in our country is membership in gangs. Many young people who get into trouble with the law are or have some relationship with gangs or gang members. For many young men, in particular, crime is likely to be a gang activity, just as important as the money they obtain by stealing is the thrill that they get in challenging the police. A young member of a gang may feel that he must prove to his other gang members that he is brave by risking the chances of getting caught in order to gain respect among his gang members. Many join gangs so as to feel protected and to feel that they belong because to them a gang means family, the major or two most known gangs in Belize are the crips represented by the color blue and the bloods represented by the color red. For many years there has been a constant feud between these two gangs and such feud has brought about blood shed and left many wounded. Many of these gang members are responsible for a high percentage of crimes committed in our society because their daily means of living exist mainly on stealing to get money. Not to say that these are the only two gangs that exist in our country because this is not so there are others that have given rise through the years, there are others found in our districts but none more notorious than crips and the bloods. In adding to this, it can be said that gangs are influenced mainly by American television, our young people see the violence and wrong doings portrayed by young Americans and feel that they need to do the same to be cool and bad. And to conclude the issue of gangs, it takes a person of strong character to break away from a gang when he/she becomes involved in criminal acts.
Similar to gang members or related to gangs are students who drop out of school who get involve in crime and most of the time in gangs. School dropouts are many times not necessarily headed for lives of crime, but many times it is seen that those who do not finish high school are more likely to become members of gangs or mere criminals. Being absent and skipping classes is often one of the signs of a possible delinquent. The schools drop out who is not able to get a decent job and who spends his day in idleness is likely to get into trouble with the law. And in Belize especially in the city we can see a lot of dropouts who just hang out on street corners doing nothing and many times become members of gangs.
The use of alchol and drugs often or most of the time contribute to crime. Almost every country in the world, including Belize has laws forbidding the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone under 18 or 21 years of age. All countries forbid the sale of habit-forming drugs to anyone unless approved by a doctor. Yet, criminals break the law and sell drugs to young people. So, we might ask our selves, how does drug relate to criminal activity?
There are three kinds of relationship: psychopharmacological, economic-compulsive, and systemic. A psychopharmacological relationship exists when someone commits a crime because of some drug induced change in mood or physiological function, it is also implied when a drug increase impulsivity. Economic-compulsive reasons involve committin a crime to obtain money to buy drugs. Systemic reasons involve drug related drive by shootings, rip offs of buyers and sellers, murders to eliminate rivals, and bribery or perjury to avoid conviction. In belize we see the three inds of relationship in our society giving most concern to the economic-compulsive reason. Although, many murders throught the past year have been committed due to systemic reasons, where members of gangs and drug trafficers have murdered people who have in some way muddle in their deals. And there are also many crimes committed by people who were under the effect of some drugs.
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