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Friday, September 3, 2010

Criminology - RELATION BETWEEN CRIME AND DEVELOPMENT

RELATION BETWEEN CRIME AND DEVELOPMENT


CONCEPT OF CRIME- FORMAL LEGALISTIC DEFINITION

It is difficult to define what is criminal and what is not. One cannot even declare that crimes are always more serious on their effects on individuals or on society. But still if an attempt is made to define crime, a crime may be understood as something that the law calls a crime and uses criminal prosecution or sanction to deal with. It is a wrong to society involving the breach of legal rule, which had criminal consequences attached to it.

CONCEPT OF DEVELOPMENT
Development is not an absolute concept and therefore like crime, there can be no precise definition for development. It is something that is in the common parlance, may be understood as the evolving of the mankind into a more advanced sophisticated being by gathering the experience, rationale and wisdom of the predecessors.

RELATION BETWEEN CRIME AND DEVELOPMENT
Most of the explanations of crime have focused on biological and psychological characteristics as causes for criminality. But off late there has been a change in the pattern of thinking and criminality is now linked with several other factors. Such sa vagrancy, unemployment, social factors cultural factors, general poverty and despair. Urbanism, at the very time of its on set was considered to be one of the causes for increasing criminality. This is because with urbanization, people migrated from rural to urban areas in large numbers. With this major problems crept in because the system of control had not really changed. The basic amenities of food, clothing and shelter itself were not being met with. There was poverty, lack of job opportunities, which then bred the frustration in people and led to increased criminality.

Fredrick Engles in 1844, in the first part of the century showed that the crime increased from 4605 in 1805 to 31309 in 1842 that is a seven-fold increase in 37 years. He documented the widening of class differences and increased exploitation of the working class became more brutalized, exploited and demoralized as they lost any real control over their lives, therefore their resentment grew.
In order to understand the real relation between crime and development, there are various theories that need to be understood. They are as follows-

THE ECOLOGY OF CRIME
Ecology is the study of the people and the institution in relation to the environment. Ingram the propounder of this theory suggests that urbanism is the basic predictor of criminality. He categorized crime under two heads-
1. High offender rate areas
2. High offence rate areas
High offender rate areas- according to the high offender rate areas every city is divided into five zones-
1. Zone 1 - central area
2. Zone 2 – transitional zone
3. Zone 3 - works man space
4. Zone 4 - expensive houses
5. Zone 5 – suburbs
it was seen according to this theory that it is only in the heart of the city, that is the central area where maximum crime took place.
High offence rate areas- this relates to the opportunity and crime, and advocates that where there are more loopholes, more crime is committed in that area. For example, public booths are more likely to be attacked than a phone in a bar or a pub. Here committing crime is not a routine activity.
According to the routine activity theory, it links crime with both difference in lifestyles and with economic changes.
NOTE
Before proceeding any further, it must be seen what are the reasons causes and affects of development, and having identified the conditions, it would be seen as to what impact does the development have on the crime rate. The factors and the consequences are discussed below-
1. POVERTY
What seems to be the rule is that the rich become richer and the poor become poorer, or to put it differently, these days there is a widening class disparity. Due to this disparity, over all poverty increases, and concentration of wealth only in a few hands breeds’ frustration and contempt giving rise to an increase in the crime rate.
Clearly as per Sainsbury, there is per se no link between crime and poverty, but on a close examination, it will be seen that what is of importance is not absolute poverty but relative poverty and it was observed by Patterson in between 1947 to 1985, that where there is relatively equal distribution of wealth, the crime rate would be high.
2. EROSION OF SOCIAL CONTROLS
It has been seen by Vold and Besuard, that lack of money causes erosion of social controls, where, this erosion of social control, stems to be the main reason for the increase in the crime rate.
3. UNEMPLOYMENT
Unemployment is associated with wealth or lack of it. It increases in the time of depression and it is in this period that frustration increases due to unemployment on the rise. This was also seen in the great economic depresstion of 1960’s. the britain’s home office in 1994 agreed that increasing rate of unemployment is linked with economic backwardness. Thus unemployment is therefore a promoting factor for incresase in crime rate.
4. LOW CLASS CULTURE
The American Millar is of the opinion that the lower class values are such, that there socialization is such, that there is an increase in crime rate. With the advent of development, due to large number of large number of other problems associated, the standard of cultural values decreases and this further causes an increase in the crime rate. It seems that due to excessive leisure time, the absence of adequate parental models and care, the presence of known adult offenders in the locality together with the person’s own natural desire to test themselves in acts of daring, bravado and danger, were a sufficient explanation for the delinquent behavior.
NATURE OF CRIME VIS- A- VIS DEVELOPMENT
With the development taking place, it iis for certain that the crime is definitely increasing, that there is a direct and positive relationship between crime and development. But not only this it is also observed that with the advent of development, nature of crime is also changing, the focus has now shifted from index crimes like murder, rape and theft to more complex and technology oriented crimes, like- cyber stalking, cyber hacking, and child pornography.

CRIME TRENDS
Crime is not new to this century and studies indicate a gradual increase in the crime rate. The crime increased from 1830 to 1860, then up till the time of the First World War the crime rate decreased.
Crime rate further increased from 1930’s to 1960’s when the growth rate became much faster. In 1981 he number of index crimes peaked 13.4 billion and then began to consistently decline till 1984 and 1991 onwards the crime rate has been declining at 4%.

TRENDS IN VIOLENT CRIMES
The violent crimes reported by the FBI include murder, rape, assault and robbery. Between 1993 and1997, the violent crimes dropped by 18%. In some cities the drop in violent crime has been as much as 50%. Statistics reveal that robbery declined by 11%, murders by 8% and forcible rape and assault by 5% between 1997 and 1998.

TRENDS IN PROPERTY CRIME
In 1997, about 11.5 million property crimes were reported and in the recent years, the rate of property crimes has been declining by about 16%.

OTHER FACTORS LINKED WITH DEVELOPMENT THAT PROMOTE CRIME
1. DRUG ABUSE
Between 1980’s and 1990’s, which fought over and promoted drug trafficking. These well-armed gangs did not even hesitate once to resort to violence and therefore causing an increase in the crime rate.
2. GANGS
Another factor that affects the crime rate is the explosive growth in the teenage gangs. These are the negative aspects related to urbanism and developments, where gangs involved in urban drug trade recruit juveniles because they work cheaply and are immune from heavy criminal penalties.
3. AGE
This is also considered as one of the important factors for rising crime rate linked with development.

CONCLUSION
There is a direct and positive link between crime and development and with the advent of development not only the crime rate increase but is also changing the nature of the crimes committed.

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