Poverty and Crime Essay:
The impact on crime of poverty and wealth is justly characterized by Tarde as “a favorite battleground for two extreme factions of the positive school: Socialist Group (Colaianni Turati) and Orthodox (Garofalo et al). Between the views of Colaianni and Garofalo there is such a chasm that the compromise on some combination of these two opposing theories cannot even be considered.
But the fifteen years that have elapsed since the appearance of these two works, the forensic literature was enriched by a number of other papers on clarifying values ??for poverty and crime.
And if a criminologist still cannot find one and only right answer to this question, he, however, cannot complain about the lack of research on this subject.
There is no doubt that the existing diversity of opinion now would not have be the issue if criminal statistics give accurate information about the extent of property status of convicted or accused. But, unfortunately, criminal statistical reports do not include such a data. In addition to imperfections of the criminal statistics, there are common drawbacks: we do not have quite accurate and specific information about the amount of wealth and poverty of different classes of society.
With regard to information about the wealth of different nations, we cannot use them for building any conclusions in respect of interest to us for the reason that it is not the amount of wealth held within the state that matters, but the distribution of wealth among citizens of this state.
However, if there are no direct ways to determine the impact of poverty on crime, then there is a roundabout way that many researchers have already gone and among other Colaianni forensic sociological school. This path is to clarify the rise in crime in the years of famine and crops, during the rise and fall of prices for necessary living supplies. Against this method of investigation objections are possible. If the lean years cause an increase of crime, can we say that such elevation owes its origin to an increase in crime among the poorest? Have we not in this case the right to make only the inescapable conclusion that crop failures adversely affect on the crime rate across the country, a not those or other sections of the population of this country? However, even such a conclusion seems to be very valuable for criminal policy, clearly revealing to us the futility of conventional means of combating crime in the lean years.
However, making the above conclusion about the relationship between the poor harvests years and increased crime rate, we have reasonable grounds to believe that the increase in lean years is given by needy segments of the population. There are several reason for this assumption.
- First, the number of persons belonging to the wealthy classes is too insignificant to cause a significant change in the crime rate across the country.
- Second, if the alleged crime increase in years of poor harvests will be attributed to a fraction of the wealthy classes, it is impossible to find an explanation of the effect of high prices of bread, potatoes, meat on those who consume these essentials only a very tiny portion of their income.
On the contrary, the explanation of the rise of crime in poor years and the corresponding fall in the years of lower prices presents no difficulties; because, with limited budget needy, any fluctuations in the prices of basic necessities are reflected in all the articles of their consumption.
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