This is because many people do not have the opportunity to do so or they chose not to do so. People start to engage in criminal activities such as theft to satisfy their needs. Cochran suggests that anomie is greatest where the goal of attaining societal goals occurs under conditions of individual competition. A decrease in state control and regulations leads to positive impacts in the economy. Three key elements affect crime in an economy (Cochran 2012). The first element is the degree of economic regulation/freedom. The second is the ability of the economy to sustain accrual of wealth opportunity. The third key element is the nature of economic conditions.
The economic freedom index measures the prominence of a free market and unregulated social constraints. Economic freedom index also measures political constraints in a market. Economic freedom is the absence of government control and coercion in production, distribution and the consumption of goods. In a free economy, a person is free to protect and maintain his economic preferences without government involvement. In measuring the freedom economic index, Cochran examined fifty economic variables. He classified the variables into 10 different categories. These were trade policy, government intervention, government fiscal burden, monetary policy, foreign investment, capital flows. The others were banking, wages, property rights and black market activity (Cochran 2012). A high score on a variable indicates that institutional policies are conducive to economic freedom.
Changes in the economy have a direct impact in the level of crime in the community. This study shows that measures of relative depreciation and economic inequality are the factors that affect economic conditions in a country. The study conducted by Cochran uses a Gini coefficient in household income for measuring relative depreciation and economic inequality (Cochran 2012). The coefficient in this measure ranges from zero to 100. A score of zero represents perfect income inequality while a score of 100 represents a perfect unequal distribution of wealth in the country.
The study shows there are some variables that contribute to level of crime in society. These variables affect the economic index of a country. When the economic index of a country lowers, this leads to the increase in crime rates. People start to use un-institutional means to acquire wealth. Operation of anomie is one of the main problems that researchers have in trying to test structural and institutional anomie theories (Cochran 2012). A theoretical operation of anomie addresses the joint societal conditions that make structural anomie operate. This will lead to economic inequality and the successive increase in crime rates. Structural anomie is present when dominant culture that is legitimate to economic security and organization of the economy persists. This permits wealth acquisition. The structural organization of the community prohibits or blocks some people from the legitimate ways of attaining these goals. This makes them resort to criminal behavior as a way of attaining societal goals.
Strengths and limitations
The potency of this study is that it gives evidence on why crime levels of the community may increase at a point. The study shows evidences and statistical analysis of some of the variables that cause the increase and decrease of crime level. The study also shows the structure of society and its functions. This helps in understanding why people commit crime in society. Many people commit crime such as theft because they have no other way of attaining societal goals. The limitation to this study is that it does not give measures in which a government can adopt to reduce criminal behavior.
The article contains a lot of information about the causes of crime in the community. This article shows that criminal behaviors such as homicides and theft are comparable and have a high degree of consistency. According to Cochran (2012), linguistic and ethnic heterogeneity may lead to a high rate of homicide in society. Religious heterogeneity does not affect the level of criminal behavior. Cochran (2012), states that income inequality and population heterogeneity plays a key role in determining the level of crime. This article gives ways of measuring theft and homicide rates in society. Researchers use this data for cross-national comparison thus offering reliable and accurate means of measuring crime. The article shows the extent to which economic conditions make people engage in criminal behaviors.
Cochran, J., & Bjerregaard, B. (2012). Structural…