Economy on Crime Rates It Term Paper

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The increased expectation of lawful income will reduce the temptation of illegitimate activity.

This is referred to as the 'motivation effect. The opportunity effect is a long- term influence that is positively correlated with crime, while the motivation effect is more short-term and has a negative correlation with crime. Thus, in years when people increase their spending by very small amounts or reduces it altogether, notably quickly. In contrast, during year when people rapidly increase their expenditure, property crime tends to grow less rapidly or even fall.

In relation to San Bernardino, Miguel (2006) argues that with the recent renewal of the city by industries, the unemployment rate has been reduced to a large extent. The number and value of goods available as a result of this growth in income can be linked to the upsurge in robbery cases in homes and public places such as banks.

Economic growth, unemployment and population factors

According to Oriel (2005, p233) it is already accepted that the current recession is set to be the worse of the post-war era. It took four quarters for Gross domestic product to fail by 2.2% in the 1990s in the 1980s GDP fell by 4.1% in a year, and took a further quarter to reach a trough of -- 4.9%. In the 1970s GDP fell 3.5% over three quarters, but rallied in the fourth quarter to finish only 1.6% down by the end of the first year. However, in the current economic climate, GDP has already fallen 4.2% in just three quarters. Overall GDP is predicted to fall by 3.5% in 2009. (Oriel, 2005, p43).

The level of unemployment has also been regularly linked to rising levels of crime, and is set to reach three million by the end of this year. In San Bernardino the effects of the recent economic crisis has had its own fair share on the economic activities. From the age analysis earlier on discussed it can be deduced that the number of available persons to be employed will far exceed the available jobs despite recent minimal increases in job. Unemployment has rendered a lot of able hand jobless who in their attempt to survive engage in all forms of crime including robbery, human trafficking, drugs, etc.

Proliferation of a cash economy

Jordan (2007, 19) argues that the introduction of plastic money and the transfer of fund across various places without the physical carriage of cash has been one the best measures to curtail any form of crime. In the San Bernardino County however the education for the departure from a cash base economy to a cashless economy has not been fully adhered to as a lot of persons still carry out transactions with money. In a research to determine why these individuals are adamant in following this rule despite the safety that it brings along, a number of respondents contended that they prefer keeping their money than to plant them in banks only for the banks to take a chunk of it as charges. (Jordan, 2007, p23)Two respondents in that research agreed that the banking sector which is at the fore front of the campaign to transact business without cash take advantage of the customers. In the year 2009, three hundred cases of cash robbery were reported in the last quarter. One of the victims agreed that they had taken those funds in order to carry out transactions from the Christmas festivities. It can then be concluded that while efforts are on going to reduce the amount of money with the system which attract criminals, the effort has not yielded so much because of the inherent problems with the campaign. (Granger, 2009, p3)

Narcotic economy

It has also been argued that San Bernardino is increasing in crime because of the economic opportunities that drug traffickers enjoy in the city. Statistic indicates that the street value for a small quantity of heroine and cocaine is worth thousands of dollars. Narcotic crime seem to have escalated considering the fact that a large number of the population especially the youth who are in the majority have joined the demand for narcotic products and creating a high market demand.

The Sex Economy

According to Brown (2005), the sex economy is a major challenge to the city. The demand for commercial sex workers is on the ascendancy while the income from this venture is increasing day after day. It is an open secret that with
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the increases in the demand and the reward for satisfying sexual desires, prostitution and other sex related crimes will be on the ascendancy. Seun (2009) concludes after a research into the sex economy that the complexity of this market and the caliber of people involved make it difficult to erase it completely

Theories regarding the links between crime and economy

Around the middle of the nineteenth century social scientists such as Fregier and Buret in France and Mayhew in England described the "dangerous classes" as the main source of crime and disorder. At the lowest level of every society existed a hard core of depraved parasites, often also called the "criminal classes are more and more thrust back from civilized customs and laws, and reduced, through the suffering and privations of pauperism, to the state of savages"(quoted from Radzinowicz: Ideology & crime, 1966, p.41).

These early sub-cultural writers paved the way for an interpretation of crime in terms of the whole economic structure of society. One of the original positive demonstrations of how levels of crime were partly determined by economic circumstances was offered by Von Mayr in 1867 that showed that property crime tended to be more prevalent in Bavaria during periods when rye prices were higher. The most famous interpretation of crime in the Marxian perspective of historical materialism was given b y the Dutch Professor Bonger in the seven hundred page book Criminality and Economic Conditions (1916). The deprivation of the proletariat of such necessities as education, humane living conditions, employment, and substantial income was explained by the general egoistic tendencies of the capitalistic system. Such exploitations brutalized its members and drove them to commit offences. Mr. Joutsen states initially, "perhaps the most familiar hypothesis linking crime and the economy is that unemployment and economic inequality increase the amount of crime. "

A more elaborate version of this theory was presented by Becker in 1968. He hypothesized that holding constant the certainty and severity op punishment, an increase in the potential rewards from c rime, accompanied by a decrease in the cost of participation in crime would increase the amount of crime. Mr. Joutsen pointed out that economic development and underdevelopment are linked not only to crime, but also to the structure of crime, for example an increasingly complex economy creates new types of economic crimes. This subject has already received separate consideration by the European Committee on Crime Problems (Economic Crime, 1981).

Effects of economic structures and Phases of Development on crime

Eisner (2003) presented a paper on long-term socio-economic trends and their effects on crime. The Swiss professor began by addressing three criminological theories namely the modernization theory, the opportunity theory and the theory of the civilizing process, all of which assumed levels of crime would rise or fall with economic production levels. He then related these theories to long-term crime trends in various counties in California. Homicide rate for five counties show a pattern of a continuous decrease, probably starting in the 1999 and ending in the early 2009. Since then rates have been increasing, with national differences being restricted to the relative extent of the increase. His overall pattern of total crime trends based upon both conviction and official police records showed a lower turning point, somewhere between the 1996 and the 1997. For San Bernardino, Eisner found a five-fold rise of police record crimes within the one decade period between 1999 and 2009. How does the empirical evidence square with the theoretical models? Johnson purports that neither is able to adequately explain the prevailing crime trends.

The modernization theory expects crime rates to increase parallel to industrialization and urbanization. But crime rates have remained stable or even declined in certain periods of rapid economic growth and urbanization, especially so during the first decade of the third millennium. Likewise, opportunity theory expects crimes to increase as valuable goods become more widely available. But property crimes have not gone up as levels of production and amount of consumer goods increased during the 19th and the early 20th century. The theory of the civilizing process on the other hand predicts at least violent crime to decrease parallel to the modernization process. But homicide rates only partly fit this pattern and the general increase of both violent and property crimes since at least the early 1960s remain unexplained. To account for the prevailing crime trends Eisner forwarded a theory of self-control as a general individual level theory of crime causation. His hypothesis stated that crimes rate tend to go up when there…

Sources Used in Documents:


Becker, Gary 1999, Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach, Journal of Political Economy

Becker, Gary and Murphy, Kevin 1999, A Theory of Rational Addiction, Journal of Political Economy

Richardson, Isaac, (2009) Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation, Journal of Political Economy

Ehrlich, Isaac 1975, The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life

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