Poverty Causes Crime

A recent survey released by TNS Research Surveys indicates that South Africans believe that poverty is the root cause of crime.  Read the full article below, and share your opinions here …

This article is from News24

Most South Africans believe that poverty is the root cause of escalating crime levels in the country, a survey by TNS Research Surveys revealed on Monday.

“Three quarters of the 2 000 adults from the seven major metropolitan areas of South African cities agreed that crime was mainly caused by poverty,” the company’s director of Innovation and Development Neil Higgs said.

While this view was held by the majority of people from various cultural, economic and religious spheres, it was those living in informal settlements and backyard dwellings who strongly agreed.

Eighty-four percent of those living in shacks held this view, followed closely by hostel residents and backyard dwellers at 72 and 77% respectively.

“The extreme differences in perspective on poverty as a root cause amongst shack dwellers show the desperate circumstances in which these people feel that they are and the possible desperate measures they see happening all around them by those who want a better life. The urgent need for service delivery, at the very least, is tangible here,” Higgs said.

The survey also looked at perceptions held by South Africans regarding the impact of racial discrimination from the past on crime.

Only 51% of those surveyed blamed past injustices as the root cause of crime. The majority of white people (30%) surveyed disagreed on this while 65% of Indians and 55% of blacks and coloureds agreed.

“Sociologists feel that the unusual violence associated with crime here has to do with cultural ‘depersonalisation’ which has been the net outcome of the repression associated with apartheid. The culture then becomes self perpetuating and worsens. Perpetrators see the victims as ‘other’ and not as a part of their culture,” Higgs said.

While the study generally found that most South Africans believed that crime was not going down, they were hypocritical in that they continued to buy pirated DVDs and CDs and refrained from reporting those they knew to be buying stolen goods.

“Over eight out of ten people feel that crime levels are not dropping, yet a fifth of these very people admit their willingness to buy pirated goods. A quarter of people surveyed know others who have bought stolen goods. Had these people been reported to the police, the market for stolen goods would disappear,” he said.

From News24


7 Responses

  1. I agree that poverty is the root cause. Not the only cause, but the root cause. When many people find themselves in a poor state, many start to blame someone else, and think it is their right to fix the injustice, and take what is rightfully theirs. Some just steal out of desperation, and I think some just want to take revenge and punish someone who does have the means to survive. It is seldom that people look to themselves to establish what they can do themselves to get out of poverty.

  2. Crime is not just a social issue, it is a moral issues as well. It simply makes no sense to blame poverty as much violent crimes are not about survival strategies. Survival strategies would be largely dependent on petty thefts and robberies. The larger crimes, such as ATM bombing, armed heists and home invasions have different psycho-social origins. The proceeds are usually spent on consumables and luxury goods.

    Some blame can be attributed to a lack of institutional development. Historically, the differences in how people were acculturated into institutional life did not create a unified value set. As a result, cultural relativism has created a sense that stealing and killing outside one’s community or among other racial groups is acceptable.

    Associating violence with masculine traits has also fed into crime, particularly assault, murder, family murders and excessive violence in the commission of criminal offenses.

  3. Poverty as such is not the root cause of crime. If the entire population displayed little inequality, even though relatively poor, then there would be less cause of crime. In other words, not poverty , but inequality is the root cause of crime!

  4. The style of writing is very familiar . Did you write guest posts for other blogs?

  5. yes, poverty is the main cause of crimes like in asian countries poor people who have nothing even to wear for theirsilves then they will try but poverty is too much and they found nothing so they decide to get them by oter means like robery and other crimes which leads them to criminals

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  7. Some years ago I held this same discussion organized for a public meeting of a Community Policing Forum. An overwhelming conclusion was that, yes, poverty causes crime. However there were also strong diversions from this almost knee-jerk conclusion. Wealth, many said, creates opportunity for crime. Also syndicated crime, massive corruption, often goes under the radar and not nearly as prominently reported as is, say, murder. With regard to crime in poor communities the issue is easily whipped up as “blanketizer” for poverty and poor service delivery. Much crime deeply impacting poor communities also actually goes mostly under the radar. This with regard to money lenders severely draining resources and employing hard handed tactics to get debt repaid. Maar goed, by far not exhausted . . . . poverty perse need not be the main driver of crime.

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