Does Poverty cause crime?

Essay by bballjillUniversity, Bachelor's December 2003

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Poverty and Crime

What causes crime? Does poverty cause crime? Or does crime cause poverty? Some feel that poverty causes crime. Others though, feel that crime rates have nothing to do with poverty and that crime may actually cause poverty.

If poverty causes crime than why are crime rates lower in poor third world countries than in wealthy super powers? Robert Rector feels that it is not poverty that causes crime but the anti-poverty programs that cause crime. He feels that the United States has created its own crime problem because the U.S. pays people not to work or be married through the welfare program. In a sense people are being rewarded for doing nothing. The welfare program causes crime because it creates an unhealthy environment for children; it teaches them that you do not have to work hard in life to be rewarded. The welfare program only provides enough for a family to barely get by so people get "greedy" and don't want to have to work so they turn to crime so they can be better off.

It spoils people in a way because after you have been on welfare for awhile you begin to develop a "why should I work if I don't have to" attitude!

Another theory is that supports the idea that it is not poverty that causes crime but the lack of values that causes crime. For example in Bombay where there is one of the highest poverty rates and also rich housing rates, people can walk through the streets night or day feeling safe. People even leave their bicycles unlocked without fear of them being stolen. Another period in time that does not support the theory that poverty causes crime is the Great Depression. During the Great Depression many people lost their...