The subject of lifelong disadvantage is related to the type of neighborhoods individuals are exposed to at a young age. It is not just of interest to social scientists. Still, it is also a major question in public policy debate.
We now know that social scientists have been captivated by the relationship between neighborhood characteristics and crime rates for almost a century. They have been trying to find how people are affected by the neighborhoods in which they reside. Let’s take a look at how crime and neighborhoods are interrelated!
Low-income neighborhoods and Crime
How to find out crime rate in a neighborhood? The study of neighborhood impacts has contributed significantly to our knowledge of various phenomena in the social sciences. The study of crime rates in neighborhoods is dispersed over urban space—and the causes for this—has a well-established place within the criminological corpus.
Researchers have examined a range of comparable traits within settings studied by dissecting the city into neighborhood units, with the presence of particular neighborhood characteristics used to describe and explain how and why crime in low-income neighborhoods is heavily concentrated.
Economic segregation implies that affluent neighborhoods may be located further away. Because traveling to different areas entails increased risks and effort, most potential offenders commit crimes close to home to minimize both.
Furthermore, this is dependent on the offender being aware of more valuable targets in affluent neighborhoods. On the other hand, potential burglars are more aware of opportunities in nearby and similarly disadvantaged areas (where most burglars live) because that is where their daily life takes place rather than physically distant wealthier neighborhoods.
Do low-income areas have more crime?
Do low-income areas have more crime? According to social disorganization and systemic theories, crime will thrive in areas with high residential mobility, low socioeconomic status, high racial heterogeneity, and high rates of family disruption.
These theories contend that these forms of structural disadvantage reduce residents’ ability to achieve mutual goals and solve neighborhood problems, resulting in high crime rates.
Research has demonstrated that residents in unorganized and poor communities are less attached to one another, have restricted social networks, lack resources, and do not generate mutual trust.
Residents in such communities are less likely to serve as informal social control agents to rise and deal with neighborhood problems. Consequently, they are less likely to take action when problems such as crime or juvenile delinquency emerge.
Recent research has focused on disadvantaged neighborhoods affect steady child development, specifically how adolescents become more involved in crime and delinquency. Children growing up in areas with extremely high levels of socioeconomic deprivation and inequity are more subjected to having a slew of unfavorable and harmful consequences.
It can enhance their propensity to indulge in criminal acts. Children reared in such circumstances are more likely to drop out of school, have lower academic accomplishments, have reduced language ability, and experience various other issues.
Poverty and Crime
Poverty is a relative concept usually determined by the general living standard in this society. According to research, when young people are not paid a living wage for their work, they gradually lose the desire to marry.
They have children – they are full of fear for tomorrow, not knowing if they will be fired because of another financial crisis. Furthermore, experts say that low wages and a lack of jobs drive young people to commit crimes to get rich quickly.
Beginning in the 1970s, studies in the United States increasingly pointed to a link between unemployment, poverty, and crime. According to new research from the United Kingdom, economic cycles may influence property and violent crime variations.
How does poverty affect crime statistics?
The fact that crime and poverty statistics are geographically concentrated – strikingly consistently – reveals the specific link between the two. In other words, wherever there is poverty, there is also crime.
Of course, this excludes “softer” crimes such as corruption, which causes massive harm to people’s lives but in a more indirect manner. The statistics of crime and poverty reveal that:
- Poor people are less likely to access advanced education, life skills, and job training, for starters. They are more susceptible to being unemployed or underemployed. They are more subjected to living in areas where gangs and drug abuse are common.
- Growing up in such areas increases the risk of criminal acts because of the despair, frustration, anger, and hopelessness that such circumstances fester. When given a choice between working for minimum wage or making a lot of money by distributing drugs, many people choose the latter because it allows them to get out of poverty. Poverty may lead to an increase in criminal activity due to these factors.
- Many impoverished people see crime as their only way out. When someone struggles to make ends meet daily, they may resort to illegal and seemingly pointless activities. If your children are starving because of hunger and you don’t have enough money to feed them, you may resort to shoplifting to feed your family. If you cannot pay your rent, bills, or expenses, you may believe that the only way to avoid homelessness is to engage in criminal activity.
- Higher unemployment would almost certainly increase poverty while also leading to more crime due to the depression of being unemployed. Personal income per capita, inversely related to poverty, may increase crime because greater wealth benefits thieves and robbers.
Furthermore, personal income per capita rates may not significantly impact poverty (the income may be concentrated in a small percentage of the population). It may even exacerbate the disparity between the upper and lower classes, increasing crime.
- Poverty also reduces options, some of which coexist with mental illness and a lack of ability to meet basic requirements. If a person has an untreated mental condition, it isn’t easy to maintain a job. It is tough to get money to cover basic demands if you do not have a job.
- Inadequate educational possibilities are created by a lack of resources for low-income households, both actual and perceived. However, the idea of a lack of education is sufficient for those living in poverty to form self-fulfilling prophecies about their future. They feel that if there are no excellent quality schools, there will be no good quality jobs. People feel compelled to defend themselves.
Several kinds of research have demonstrated that the concentration of disadvantage in the neighborhood is related to significantly higher levels of violence, drug, and property crime at the housing development. Housing complexes in neighborhoods with high levels of residential stability, as projected, have much lower levels of violence, drug, and property crime. CWP
Community Watch Paper posts:
How to live in a Bad Neighborhood
Neighborhood Crime: What to do about it