What Is Crime?
A common question that is asked is “what does crime mean?”. A crime is defined as a deliberate act that causes physical or psychological harm, damage to or loss of property, and is against the law. Whilst that is the definition crime as a concept is very difficult to pin down to have one specific meaning. The easiest way to break crime down is to look at it from a legal standpoint, if it is illegal, it is a crime, however, this leaves certain crimes open to interpretation.
As an example, it is universally accepted that murder is a crime, however, in Australia’s second most populated state it is a crime to change a light bulb unless you are a licenced electrician. This is where the line blurs, most people wouldn’t consider the second of those two acts to be a crime and as such, what is and isn’t a crime becomes somewhat arbitrary. There could be a world that exists where all murders in Australia drop to zero, but people keep changing lightbulbs without being electricians making the crime rate actually go up despite proportionally horrific events plummeting.
This is where crime is a human invention and as such can be moulded to fit whatever acts we please. On the strictest level crime can be eliminated by a universal declaration that there are no acts which could be considered crimes anymore. Of course, this wouldn’t work in terms of actually eliminating what most of us think when we hear the word crime (murders, robbing, kidnapping, etc.) but it does bear keeping in mind.
How Is Crime Treated?
Crime is treated through the means of prison time, for the most part, this is symbolic as it speaks to the public that crime is directly acted against. However, due to the massive amounts of different crimes, oftentimes prison is not the appropriate course of action to combat the issues at large, leading to people committing more crime when they get out. This leads us into what role does crime play in society.
What Role Does Crime Play In Society?
There is an argument to be made that crime actually has a positive impact on society as a whole, whilst it is definitely a controversial stance, functionalist ideology states that crime helps to define the boundaries between good and bad. Having specific actions being outlawed by an overarching government body helps to set in stone what you should and shouldn’t be doing throughout your life. Often times as people our basal urges such as anger and fear may make us commit acts like abuse so having this definitively outlawed as a crime with real punishment it helps to make people more aware of what it is they are doing and other avenues to explore to prevent it from getting to that point.
Crime In Society
Due to the individualistic society we live in, crime is also seen to be inevitable, as everyone is encouraged to express themselves freely and be their own person, this makes it so that not every member will be equally committed to the collective sentiments of others and ultimately break the law. It goes without saying however that a good majority of crime is in place to inhibit the progression of society and destroy people’s lives in order to benefit others. This is what we as a company and the greater forces of authority work to eliminate, the people whose intentions are to break down other’s businesses and benefit from them.
Where Does Crime Come From?
In 2021, there was a 12% increase of total crime in the UK. These are worrying figures to think about, which leads us to think, “where does crime come from?”. Read our other article “What Can We Learn From Crime Rates In The UK“, to learn more about crime rates in the UK.
Crime stems from a variety of different factors, from social, economic, psychological, and physical causes there are a number of different reasons one might commit a crime. Some people consider a life of crime better than a life working a regular job and earning money legitimately, some people lead normal lives but commit crimes due to heightened emotions such as greed, anger, jealousy, revenge, or pride. It is difficult to state exactly where crime starts and how we can cut it off from the source.
Does Money Influence Crime?
However, there are some factors which have a very strong correlation to crime, money being the primary example. It has been proven for a long time now that poorer areas typically have a lot higher rates of crime than more affluent ones. This brings to light the notion that a lot of crime is done to survive, people not being able to make ends meet will turn to crime in order to put food on the table for themselves and the people who depend on them.
Whilst this is one of the strongest correlating factors we currently have for crime, it isn’t the only one, a lot of crime such as money laundering is committed by those already living very comfortable lives. This also indicates that some people commit crime on a pride basis, to prove that they can and can get away with it, this is for nothing other than social capital. So, with its role in society discussed along with where crime stems from just how do we go about preventing it, and what methods are the most successful?
How Can We Prevent Crime In Our Community?
The reason we have punishment for crime is to disincentivise people from committing crimes, it is supposed to be a stopgap before people even consider committing them. Prisons are supposed to make crime riskier with a lot less reward as they will end up spending time locked away from society. This notion is also carried on through the work of security firms, adding security measures to a property makes it a lot more difficult for people to commit a crime and even more so to get away with it scot-free.
These can be simple elements such as adding locking bars onto car steering wheels, having security guards patrol an area, or CCTV to capture all those willing to commit crimes on a given property. Read our article, “Do Security Guards Reduce Crime?” to find out more information about how security guards can help to prevent crime.
The issue is, this doesn’t tackle the heart of what starts crime and will only prevent people who would be easily swayed to not commit crimes in the first place. As an example, studies of New York City records between 1970 and 1999 showed that as the police force in the city grew, less crime was committed. A change in a city’s police force, however, is usually tied to its economic health.
What Causes Crime?
Normally as unemployment rises, city revenues decrease because fewer people are paying taxes. This causes cutbacks in city services including the police force. So, a rise in criminal activity may not be due to fewer police, but rather rising unemployment. This again goes back to the economic reasons for committing crimes, making a more effective way to tackle crime to be increasing the overall economic output of a given area so that fewer people struggle and have to turn to crime.
Another supporting notion is the “cycle of violence”, whereby people who have experienced some form of abuse or violence in their lives at the hands of parents or other people growing up, will be more likely to commit these acts growing up. With these two theories around crime and why it is committed, the solution to clearing up crime is one where you have to tackle how it begins in the first place, providing therapy for people from abusing homes, a redistribution of wealth so that poorer areas don’t have to struggle so much and various other means of helping to prevent reasons people would want to commit crimes.
However, in spite of all this, it would be naive to assume this would completely eliminate crime as some people are prone from birth to more taboo tendencies and as such will be willing to go down the path of crime even with no previous indicators. In this instance, prisons and security services are necessary, until details are found, and advancements are made in the name of preventing these people from committing crimes, there will always be the need for federal enforcement of some kind to monitor and combat these people.
Can Crime Be Eliminated?
The ultimate question is can crime be eliminated. There are essentially two schools of thought, the initial states that with us advancing as a society and learning more and more about human tendencies each day then eventually yes, all crime will be eliminated under the principle that we will find and fix all causes of it. The second school of thought is that it can never be eliminated as no matter how much of it we remove it is fundamentally a part of our society and the less crime there is, the definition for crimes will change and comparatively smaller acts will then be considered crimes.
All in all, the most likely answer to the question is no, there will never be a crime-less society, whilst we can do our part to significantly reduce acts of crime, due to changing definitions and the complexity of human beings, making the whole population conform to a single set of rules is ultimately an impossible task.
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Crime is everywhere and it seems impossible to escape from. Last year in the UK alone, there was an average crime rate of 96.4 per thousand people. There are some methods that we can use to prevent crime. One of the most effective ones being hiring security guards.
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