Is Crime a Direct Result of Poverty

According to the history and the researches that were conducted, it was found to be a link between poverty and crime. Even though there is a link between them, there is still a question of whether crime is a direct result of poverty though its a debatable concern.

Poverty in most cases goes hand in hand with the number of crimes that have been committed in any given area. Illegal business brings about high returns. It has been found that these businesses are in most cases controlled by violent gangs who capitalize on the poverty of others. Some theories suggest that people are poor by their own making. Whereas we know that use of drugs and violet gang activities bring about poverty, many Americans are poor as a result of historical reasons. The Civil War left many people poor, slaves were turned loose without education or good opportunities to make a reasonable living. (Weatherburn, et al, 2007)

A study done by TNS (Weatherburn, et al, 2007), Research Surveys in South Africa revealed that among other factors, poverty is caused by
Population density
Compositions of the population in relation to age and race
Economic status of the community
Educational, recreational, and religious aspects
Effectiveness of the law enforcing agents
Prosecution and the courts policies
These factors are the same that to a large extent contribute to high crime rate in these regions.

Looking at some instances, one sees that poverty is not the cause of crime but rather an excuse. There are many people of integrity who are poor and do not engage in crime, while at the same time there are many rich individuals who engage in crime. The rampant corruption in Africa involving high ranking and wealthy government officials is a clear indication of this.

Modern technology especially in communication exposes people to lifestyles that they cannot afford. This leads to desperation and eventually leads to crime in people of less integrity.

Levels of Measurement
(a) Gender
In this case, I would use Nominal Measures in to quantify gender. This is because a person can either be male or female. These two are exclusive events. What is needed is to describe them and we need not assign numbers to them.

(b) Race
Race is another characteristic for which I would use nominal level. This is because one can, as an example be Indian, Jewish, African, Hispanic, Asian etc. No numbers or statistical values need to be assigned to these mutually exclusive characteristics.

(c) Perceptions of Stress
This can be treated as ordinal level data whereby values can be assigned to perception of stress. This however is subjective because stress is not quantifiable though we can give values like 1, 2, 3up to 10 and assign 1 to the lowest stress and 10 to the highest. The intervals in between have no significance in this case.

(d) Convicted Felons
These can be treated as ratiolevel data because the number of felons can take any value from zero upwards, and each interval represents the increase in the number of felons.

(e) Courts Sentences
These are ratio-level data. This is because they range from zero and may take any numerical value, in years, months or even days. They are therefore quantified using ratio-level. However for purposes of research, these may be broken down to nominal level by classifying them in intervals e.g. 0-5, 6-10, 11-15 and so on.

(f) Average Prison Stay for Burglars
Like court sentences, these represent ratio-level data because they are mutually independent aspects which may take any number or statistical value (Dantzker,  Hunter, 1958).

Methods of Data Collection
(a) Gang activity in prisons In order to collect data for the research of gang activity in prisons, I would use personal survey method. One disadvantage of this method in this case is that the inmates are not easily accessible because of the prison restrictions. The advantage is that a response is obtained almost in every enquiry (Dantzker,  Hunter, 1958).

(b) Sentencing Patterns of a Particular Court
Interview method can be used the in collecting data for the research of sentencing patterns of a particular court. The advantage of this type of data collection is that it is easy to carry out, and has high response rate

(C ) The effect of a treatment program for drug users
In order to collect data for the research of the effect of a treatment program for drug users, I would use In-depth Interview method. This method has the advantage of letting the interviewer get a more of information, although on the other hand it is time-consuming (Dantzker,  Hunter, 1958).


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