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The Impact of Poverty, Inequality, and Social Divisions, Essay Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1592

Essay

The impact of poverty, inequality, and social divisions on people’s experiences of crime and harm in Britain

Crime is one of the most significant social vices that have and continue to affect human civilization globally. It is a social problem that is rooted in human history that most countries find it difficult to manage. In Britain, crime is a major social vice that is attributed to several factors. While crime generally persists in almost every part of Britain, people’s perception of crime and harm vary based on several factors, chief among which are poverty, inequality, and social divisions. This paper seeks to ascertain the impact of poverty, inequality, and social divisions on people’s perception of crime and harm in Britain. This topic is of significance considering crime has profound psychological effects on its victims, witnesses, and affected communities.

Poverty

Unemployment

Literature shows that there is a positive relationship between poverty and crime rates in Britain. While most studies focus on the profile of the criminal, i.e., their social and cultural environment, some literature has focused on the incentives to commit a crime. These studies show that a decline in both employment and wages for unskilled labor is likely to cause an increase in criminal activity. This criminal activity is often directed to the local communities within which affected individuals reside (Duque & McKnight, 2019). However, this theory is true for only certain types of crime, i.e., burglary, theft, and robbery. Individuals in low-income areas in Britain are often scared of these three types of crime (Duque & McKnight, 2019). As such, individuals in low- and middle-income neighborhoods are more likely to be afraid of violent crime.

Additionally, literature shows that the relationship between poverty and crime, especially experiences of crime, is shaped and influenced by early childhood experiences of poverty (Kingston & Webster, 2015). The prevalence of these experiences of poverty, as well as their length, significantly influences their experiences and perceptions of crime. Individuals who live in poverty are not only at a higher risk of committing a crime, they are also more likely to be victims of a crime (Kingston & Webster, 2015).  In Britain, single young poor men are at the highest risk of being victims of a crime. individuals who live long in poverty are even more susceptible to crime than those who experience it for short periods. Poverty remains the most significant direct factor on a neighborhood and its susceptibility to crime. Individuals living in poor neighborhoods lack the resources and infrastructure required to enhance security. (Kingston & Webster, 2015) Criminal activity in Britain has and continues to thrive in neighborhoods defined by poor infrastructure and limited resources.

Local Media

In Wales, people’s perceptions of local crime are more accurate than their perception of the prevalence of national crime. at the local level, people’s experiences, as well as the experiences of those around them, play a significant role in shaping their perception and experiences of crime (Duque & McKnight, 2019). Additionally, the local media plays a pivotal role in creating perceptions of crime and people’s experiences of crime. As such, local media in low-income neighborhoods that report a high number of shootings will influence the perception of the local population about gun-related crime. As such, individuals may adopt or develop defense or self-protection mechanisms to counter gun-related crime. As such, their experiences of gun-related crime when it takes place is more informed and may potentially reduce panic and fear while encouraging proactive safety-first action and decision-making.

Inequality and Social Divisions

Apart from Economic Factors, inequality and social divisions also significantly influence people’s perceptions of crime in general and in Britain. Three inequalities and social divisions are prevalent in the difference between people’s experiences of crime in Britain, i.e., gender, race/ethnicity, and minority groups.

Income Inequality

Crime appears to have a strong correlation with income inequality. Studies show that an increase in income inequality is positively correlated to certain measures of violent crime, such as robbery and homicide (Duque & McKnight, 2019). Grimshaw and Ford (2018) conducted a systematic review of studies on income inequality and crime. They found that income inequality depicts a moderate positive relationship with crime. Individuals in the lowest income brackets in Britain experience 62% more personal crime compared to those in the higher income brackets. Additionally, individuals in low-income households experience 73% more violent crime compared to those in the middle- and high-income households (Cuthbertson, 2018). Not only are low-income households more susceptible to crime and violent crime, but also violence with injury at a rate twice that reported by medium-income households (p. 3). They are more susceptible to muggings and robbery, three times the average national rate. Not only are they more likely to be attacked by someone they know, but they are far more likely to be attacked by a stranger (Cuthbertson, 2018). Grimshaw and Ford (2018) confirmed the stronger association between income inequality and homicide (Grimshaw & Ford, 2018). Neighborhoods in Britain that depict significant income inequality are more susceptible to violent crime.

As such, experiences of residents of such neighbors are defined by a fear of these two types of violent crime compared to other types of violent crime, such as rape and assault. However, this may not accurately reflect people’s experiences of crime as local and national police place emphasis on certain types of violent crime over others. Local and national police in Britain accurately and closely monitor and report homicide, murder, and robbery compared to assault and rape. Additionally, not all violent crimes, such as assault and rape are reported by the victims. However, certain crimes are especially target individuals in middle- to high- income neighborhoods, such as vehicle crime. Individuals in middle- and high-income neighborhoods are often targets of vehicles and electronics-related crime.

Race/Ethnicity

In Britain race/ethnicity significantly influences people’s perceptions and experiences of crime. studies show that in Britain, the media has generated significant interest in crime in Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) neighborhoods. The media has highlighted the racial disproportionality that characterizes the justice system, which depicts individuals from BME groups as an inherent threat. Even though Blacks make up 3% of the population in Britain, they account for 12% of adult prisoners and 20% of children in custody (Duque & McKnight, 2019). This is a testament to the racial/ethnic factor in crime, where individuals from BME groups are more likely to be arrested for committing a crime.

Gender

Gender is another major component, whose significance in crime cannot be understated. Not only do women represent one of the most vulnerable groups to society, but they are also often ignored by law enforcement. Women are especially susceptible to certain types of crime, such as rape and domestic violence compared to men. Since women are perceived as weak targets by perpetrators, they are susceptible to muggings and burglary. Additionally, women are especially susceptible to domestic violence. Domestic violence in Britain is positively correlated to alcohol and drug abuse, both of which are also prevalent in low-income neighborhoods. Women from poor households are six times more likely to be victims of domestic violence compared to the national average for men and women.

In conclusion, the impact of crime on British society is significant and cannot be understated. Research shows that there exists a correlation between poverty and crime rates in Britain. Historically, when wages and employment decline in Britain, criminal activity increases. People who live in poverty in Britain face two types of risks, i.e., as perpetrators and as victims of crime. Criminal activity in Britain has and continues to thrive in neighborhoods defined by poor infrastructure and limited resources. The local media is integral in shaping people’s perception of crime. Low-income neighborhoods are disproportionately highlighted for crime, further perpetuating the notion of crime thrives in poor neighborhoods. Apart from Economic Factors, inequality and social divisions also significantly influence people’s perceptions of crime in general and in Britain. Income inequality also has a positive correlation with crime. Income inequality depicts a moderate positive relationship with crime. In Britain race/ethnicity significantly influences people’s perceptions and experiences of crime. Gender is another major component, whose significance in crime cannot be understated.

References

Batchelor, S. A., Armstrong, S. & MacLellan, D., 2019. Taking stock of violence in Scotland, s.l.: The Scottish centre of crime and justice research.

Brown, K. J. & Gordon, F., 2019. Older victims of crime: Vulnerability, resilience and access to procedural justice. International Review of Victimology, 25(2), pp. 201-221.

Cuthbertson, P., 2018. Poverty and Crime: Why a new war on criminals would help the poor most, s.l.: Civitas.

Duque, M. & McKnight, A., 2019. Understanding the relationship between inequalities and poverty: mechanisms associated with crime, the legal system and punitive sanctions, s.l.: Center for Analyssis of social Exclusion (CASE).

Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2016. Being disabled in Britain: A journey less equal, s.l.: Ehrc.

Francis-Devine, B., 2020. Poverty in the UK: Statistics, s.l.: House of Commons Library.

Gouseti, I., 2018. Worry about victimization, crime information processing, and social categorization biases. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 23(2).

Grimshaw, R. & Ford, M., 2018. Young people, violence and knives – revisiting the evidence and policy discussions. UK Justice Policy Review, Focus(3).

Kingston, S. & Webster, C., 2015. The most ‘undeserving’ of all?: how poverty drives young men to victimisation and crime. Colin, 23(3), pp. 215-227.

Marsh, N., McKay, E., Pelly, C. & Cereda, S., 2019. Public knowldge and confidence in the criminal justice system and sentencing, s.l.: Crown Copyright.

Mayor of London, 2017. The London knife crime strategy, s.l.: Greater London Authority.

Solymosi, R., 2019. Exploring Spatial Patterns of Guardianship Through Civic Technology Platforms. Criminal Justice Review, 44(1), pp. 42-59.

Wieshmann, H. et al., 2020. Violence in London: what we know and how to respond, s.l.: Violence Reduction Unit.

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