Social class and unemployment: Their relationship to crime.
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Stratification brought about by social class which is based on the level of poverty has been shown to be the root cause of crime in the societies that we are living in. Even though blame has been put on religion, for creating the variances in the first place, criminology slightly deviates from this notion. The reasons as to why unemployment and social class have become of interest is because, social stratification and unemployment are social problems just like the way crime is. The other reason is because; it is suspected that the causes of crime are the same causes that lead to unemployment that goes hand in hand with poverty (Wilson, 2000). In criminology, the deviant behaviors that lead to crime are not inherent properties that individuals have, instead they are said to be as a result of a series of relationships that take place in the given societies. This means that situations like, unemployment, poverty and crime seem to be here to stay and be part of the society as long as the social classes exist.
In the book social class and stratification by Rhonda, social class has been defined as what an individual speaks, what he or she wears, what he or she watches on the television and basically the whole lifestyle. Social class has been said to be the predictor of lifestyles, beliefs, cultures and life in itself. The sharing of socio-economic status in the social classes, which includes, income, education and occupation is what makes up the social class. In the history of our societies, there has been a notion that the societies can be divided into classes that are high and others low. Karl Marx the famous sociologist talked about the social division that was between the ruling class and the working class. The same classes that have influence in the society and command power in the same societies (Blau, 2002).The theory of natural selection states that the societies that thrive well are those that have people who are strong and healthy to adapt to the various harsh conditions in the society. This way the rates of mortality are low hence, the society that shows high mortality rate has low social worth.
The other theory that can best explain the gap brought about by the social classes is the artifact theory which says that the gap which is between the classes has failed to reduce due to the shrinkage in the size of socio-economic classes because they keep growing bigger and bigger. The most important theory that clearly explains this relationship between social class and unemployment with their involvement in crime is the behavioral theory. The behavioral theory has behavioral and cultural explanation of lifestyles that individuals in the society lead. It talks of how people harm their children and themselves through the consumption of substances that are harmful in excess. It says that humans adapt in the society socially and biologically. This goes to those who are unemployed because some of them end up becoming poor and hence affecting their health (Tunnell, 2006).
Criminology here researches about the unemployment that leads to poverty and the inequality that the society presents to different persons. Criminology focuses on the fact that poverty and unemployment leads to crime. Poverty is regarded as being a deprivation of some of materials that an individual needs for survival and for well being (Siegel, 2004).
Unemployment is one way of measuring poverty among other measure such as dilapidated housing, the rise in the rates of divorce, the turnover of the population and poor schools. The relationship between crime and the inequality brought about by unemployment through assessment of an individual in the distribution of resources pertaining the economy.
Turnell in the book living off crime says that, some of the crimes that result from the social stratification and unemployment are burglary and property crime. This has also been associated with violent crime due to the frustration that the less fortunate in the society feel (Rhonda, 2006).Increase in unemployment has been known to have a direct relationship with an increase in the homicides, robberies, rape, burglaries and other crimes. During economic downtowns, it is often thought that crime rises, this is true in the general context for most parts. Some studies have however showed that crimes do reduce in this kind of periods. Juvenile delinquency is known to go up during a low period of unemployment (Young, 2004).
According to Siegel in his book criminology he says that, the problem with unemployment is that only the persons who are looking for jobs gets counted while those who are not looking for jobs but are unemployed do not get counted. Social classes result due to existence of different races in the society. For example, in the United States there has been a focus on the inequality that exists between the blacks and the whites. Crime is known to be high in the areas that have a high number of people who are segregated. The black males have been represented to as homicide offenders and victims of homicide. The black homicides have always been linked to segregation due to the race. Crime is high in the cities because that is where there is high convergence of people .This cities are over crowded and crime cannot escape such areas because those looking for jobs, when they get desperate they result to committing crime. Those who are discriminated against are the ones who end up committing the crimes because the society they are trying to fit in has rejected them (Hagan & Peterson, 2006).
Research Questions and Hypotheses
Research question: How is unemployment and social class related to crime?
Hypothesis: Social class and unemployment affects the access of resources in the society.
Social class and unemployment have been known to have an impact in psychological distress. This has been known to have a high effect on women because they are most vulnerable. This is because their husbands might be unemployed and this makes them to be under distress (Messner, 2009). The men who belong in higher social classes had the biggest impact when faced with unemployment. This is because they are afraid of how the society will treat them because they do not have money. In order to maintain their social status such people likely result to committing crime in order to acquire money. The drive to commit the crime results from the differential exposure to the stress.
An assumption that has always been made is that poor economic condition hits the poor in the society harder compared to those people who belong in the middle class. The other approach is that of people who are in the social class of prisoners. The convicts have always been known to be poor or were poor before they got into the life of crime. The areas regarded to be populated by people of a low class are known to have high rates of crime (Currie, 2003).
The social origin presents a minor role in explaining crimes committed by the juveniles. More study should be conducted on adult crime.
Research Site and/or Subjects
The relationship between crime and social class will continue to be a subject in research in the twentieth century. The social class implications will remain to be controversial because of the social policies that people will suggest in order to solve the differences in the different classes. Classes have an impact on the types of crime and the responses to some crimes; gender has also been discussed to be a result of the creation of the classes (Jacobs, 2007).
Adult crime has been known to be crime dealing with white-collar jobs while the juvenile delinquency is about the school dropouts who are still in their teens
In every class in the society whether it is the ruling class or the working class, whether it is the poor class or the rich class, crimes occur according to the classes. Crimes most happen in the low classes because they do not have enough security to protect their property or their daughters from getting raped. The rich class has security because they can afford to pay for them. Nevertheless, they also commit crimes where by they are able to hire people who can commit the crimes for them. As for unemployment, the government should create job opportunities for the youths in order to reduce crime (Box, 2004).
The rich have been known to commit crimes such trading drugs that involve a lot of money. They also review the education system for everyone. This is because, if someone comes from a poor class it means they do not have enough money to go to college and hence they result to doing crime and becoming poor (Chambliss, 2001). The subjects to the research should be the low class and the people who are unemployed because they result to crimes for survival purposes. Otherwise, if they had jobs to do crime would reduce in the society (Currie, 2003).
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