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Over the past couple of decades, crime rates have been on the increase in different parts of the world. This has caused many behavior experts and criminologists to research further and come up with more conclusive reasons as to why we are experiencing this trend in crime. To make matters worse the age of criminals is continually dropping. In the United States for example juvenile crime is on the increase.
This is a cause for alarm since not only this indicate a deteriorating society but it also strains the budgets for the American correction system as they have to build more facilities for juveniles who can not be locked up with adults. Ion this paper I will try to look at some of the causes, effects and possible solutions to this menace that has invaded our societies. I will put more emphasis on the causes since it is necessary for us to look for ways to solve or address the root causes of increased crime.
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Causes of crime in our societies
According to criminologists, there are very many causes of crime. These causes vary from individual to individual and from one population to another however the main causes of crime are discussed below
Many studies have been carried out not only in the United States but also in other countries and there is a big correlation of the results. Most of these studies have shown that crime rate is negatively related to economic well-being. This means that an increase in the wage rate, per capita income or acquisition of a job greatly leads to a reduction in crime rate. This means that poverty is a contributing factor to increased crime. Thus if we could be able to reduce or eliminate poverty then we can significantly reduce crime rates in our societies.
Demographics refer to the special characteristics of a certain human population. In the United States and Europe for example where we have good demographic data it has been shown that an increase in single parenthood has led to an increase in crime. This means that as more and more families split-up then the more crime rate is increasing. This might be because of a loss in social and family values as well as a reduced disposable income.
Drug and substance abuse
All over the word drug and substance abuse is becoming a problem not only related with crime but also with other issues like education, Medicare and health. With reference to crime an increase in drug and substance abuse is positively related to increased crime. However there is a slight exception to this general rule. In cases where certain substances are legalized, and their use controlled, crime rates in these areas are significantly lower than in populations where such substances are still illegal.
Personal traits and or disorders
In many parts of the world there are people who are not forced by circumstances in to a life of crime but rather choose a life in crime. Some of the reasons why people may choose this are pride and greed. Out of greed a person will choose to steal or rob instead of increasing their efforts to achieve what they want. Because of pride others will end up in a life of crime just to show off that they also have/own what others have. These are social vices. Unfortunately others find themselves in crime because of certain mental disorders like Schizophrenia and those suffering from Kleptomania. These are disorders that can lead one in to crime and it is thus necessary for us to realize such disorders so that we can assist such people to get medical attention. There other kinds of people who commit crimes as a result of impulse. These are naturally not criminals but if they experience intense fear or rage these people are forced in to criminal acts. Such people can be helped by psychologists to ensure that they overcome their fears so that they are not drawn in to criminal acts after facing such impulses.
Cultural conditions have also been seen to increase the crime rates in certain parts of the globe. For example in major US cities an increase in minority populations mainly Blacks and Hispanics seems to lead to a bigger increase in crime levels than a similar percentage in the population of the majority white population. In other studies it has also been shown that an increase in the population of a town's metropolitan area increases the crime rate than if the population increase was in another region of the town. The dominant race or ethnic group living in an area also contributes negatively or positively to increase in crime. If the concentration of the dominant ethnic group is reduced instances of crime increase are reported while it reduces if the concentration increases.
Increase in domestic violence
In the United States prevalence of criminal activities has also been linked to an increase in domestic violence. Domestic violence is one of the main contributory factors for juvenile crime. Children with an experience of abusive parents tend to turn in to criminal activities at a much tender age while compared to children who had a normal upbringing. Thus it is necessary for the community to make concerted efforts to eliminate domestic violence in order to reduce the increasing prevalence of juvenile crime.
Media induced crime
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The entertainment industry has also played a significant role in promoting crime in our societies. In many theatres and pay television channels there has been a dramatic increase in violent movies. Since it is difficult to restrict viewing many heroes in such movies are usually the main antagonists and they are made to look like heroes. This has also led to an increase in crime. In addition many computer and video console games are very violent. They give the player to act as the criminal and to earn points or marks in the games the player has to avoid being shot or caught. As a result these roles have also contributed immensely to peoples criminal instincts since they device new ways of evading law enforcement officers.
Effects of crime in society
It is obvious that in any society where crime is prevalent people live in fear since they are afraid of being the next victim. In addition there is an added cost of doing business in such areas as a result of the need for increased security. There are many results or effects of increased crime in our societies. Among the most common effects are analyzed below.
Among the major effects of crime is economic. In economic terms crime cause the value of residential and commercial properties to fall. Crime also leads to an increase in the cost of doing business leading to an increase in the prices of basic commodities.
Crime is also a burden to the general economy as it leads to under development. When taxpayers' money is used to construct jails, pay correction officers and the like it means that less of the national income will be used for development-oriented projects. As a result unemployment may also arise, spiraling the crime rate.
Crime also leads to loss of lives, destruction of property and erosion of social values. As a result parenting and education becomes more costly and complicated as dealing with crime involves many resources both at school and at home.
There are also aspects of crime that are intangible. These may include suffering and pain caused to the victims of crime. Such effects cannot be measured although they have a very detrimental effect on societies.