How being poor might increase the chances of engaging in crime
People have different reasons for engaging in criminal activities. Among the numerous reasons for crime is the desire by the criminals to earn a living. The state of being poor can push on into criminal activity. It is only the degree and the manner in which one is inculcated into crime that differs. Poor people lack the ability to afford basic and tertiary needs. These needs, some of which are essential for survival, may push people into criminal activity. This happens mostly in developing countries where welfare programs are not sufficiently running for the provision of basic services to the people who are out of employment. The need to eat, pay bills and wear clothes easily pushes one into crime. It is in appreciation of these factors that countries that are sufficiently endowed provide welfare support and minimum pay to its unemployed. Further, corruption in a society, where justice and equal opportunities are auctioned to the highest bidders can encourage the poor into crime. This would arise out of the inability of the poor to purchase the services on sale. They lack sufficient amounts to enable them give bribes. The other alternative, in such systems, usually is participation in full blown crime.
Crime should be appreciated for its various roles. A large portion of criminal activities are motivated by financial and material gain. The problem arises from the capitalist system that has been adopted across the globe. In capitalism, economic individualism carries the day. The owners of factors of production exploit the poor who can only offer their labor in return. The high supply of labor, relative to the significantly low demand, make owners of factors of production offer low pay rates for the workers. The workers become poor. The state of poverty essentially reduces their purchasing power. It is the reduced purchasing capacity that encourages a section of the poor to engage in criminal activity.
The poor are tempted into crime out of their desire to live lavish and rich lives. They do compare their filthy lives to the lives of the rich ones. The poor notice the salient feature that differentiates their lifestyles from those of the rich ones is the financial muscle. In the rush and desire to catch up with their rich counterparts, some poor people are tempted into easy options. The easy option, of course, entails the participation in criminal activities. It should be appreciated that, unlike hard work, which requires brain work, commitment and continuous input, criminal activities are a shorter route to material possessions. It has also sufficed that the environments in which the poor are exposed to contribute to their participation in criminal activities. The poor would usually be forced to live in unfriendly and polluted environments such as slum dwellings. This occurrence usually arises from their financial limitations that disable them from affording the high housing and rental costs in lavish environments. In the slum dwellings, the law does not apply to the letter. The law that applies in the slum can only be described as the law of the jungle where the physically stronger organism owns and controls everything. Poor people hence lose faith in the law, the moral practice of fairness and honestly. They are hence encouraged into crime due to the exposure they get in their environments.
How being rich might increase the chances of engaging in crime
Crime is not a preserve of the poor. Even rich people in one way or another engage in crime. The rich people, however, engage in different types of crime usually preferring to engage in white collar crimes. The white collar crimes are economic in nature and do not surmise in physical conceptions. The rich people are motivated and encouraged into crimes by various reasons. For starters, rich people are lavish spenders. They often live lavish lives that are expensive to maintain. As such, rich people need lots of money to maintain their high spending lifestyles. The threat of reduction in the supply of money or the actual reduction in supply of money for the rich may compel them into criminal activity. While they may have adequate amounts of money to live decent lives, they may require more money so as to afford their high financial spending. Another factor that could encourage rich people into crime is the rich people’s elitism. Most rich people are elites who acquired higher education. They use their knowledge and technical abilities to easily con organizations, institutions and clients out of their money. This occurrence happens primarily because of the technical nature of white collar crimes. Rich people conveniently study the provisions of the law and its loopholes and decide to exploit the opportunities presented in deals.
In addition, it should be noted that the framework and operation of the laws can be a precursor to criminal activity by the rich. This is because most legal provisions on crime accrue higher criminal liability on small crimes likely to be committed by the poor while accruing lower criminal liability for bigger crimes likely to be committed by the rich. The ability by the rich to bail themselves out of trouble could also be a contributing factor to the rich people’s participation in crimes. The rich people more than often are able to afford efficient attorneys who easily circumvent the law to avail the former reprieves under the laws. In extreme cases, the rich people usually take the trouble of bribing the judicial officers such as prosecutors, judges and registrars so as to subvert the course of justice in their favor. The possibility to evade the law and its punitive consequences usually makes the rich vulnerable to criminal activities.
The exposure of the rich to illegal activities carried out in their exclusive homes, joints and conveniences could serve to encourage them into participating in criminal activities. In most countries, places like casinos, exclusive clubs and hotels are usually a preserve of the rich. In some of these places, only registered members are allowed entry. The on goings in these exclusive places could encourage criminal activities. It is in these places that the rich execute deals that steal from institutions, governments and international bodies. In extreme cases, these exclusive places provide the centers for smuggling and distribution of drugs.
The attitude of the police towards the rich could also be an encouraging factor in the participation in crime by rich people. This is because police officers usually approach the rich with fear and reservation. They (the police) often prefer to refer cases involving the rich to their superiors rather than acting on them. This fearful approach usually in protection against the adverse actions rich criminals could retaliate on the police officers and their families usually makes the prosecution of the rich criminal cases unsuccessful. This attitude could encourage the rich into participation in crime.
Goldson, B., & Muncie, J. (2006). Youth, crime and justice: critical issues. London: Sage.
Walsh, A. (2010). Social Class and Crime: A Biosocial Approach. New York: Taylor & Francis.