Many sociologists have questioned whether there is a link between poverty and crime.
A lot of research has been completed that indicates a positive correlation between the two and that those living in poorer areas may be more likely to require solicitors. East London, for example, is an area where poverty has been rife for some time, and also lays claim to an above average crime rate. The same is true for many other impoverished areas.
This article suggests some of the reasons why there may be a substantial link between poverty and crime.
Desire for Material Goods
One of the most basic explanations between the link is that those in poverty don’t have access to basic material goods, such as food, clothes or basic hygiene, and need to commit crime in order to be able to afford these. The idea behind the theory is that many poor people believe that it is worth committing a crime if it means having access to these goods.
Another suggestion is that many of those in poverty have reached this point in life because poor education, or in some cases self-destructive behaviour, has prevented them from getting a good job.
It is believed by some that those who with these with a poor education or a self-destructive personality are more likely to be attracted to committing crime than well-rounded well-educated individuals.
It is believed that many adults living in poverty may also have done so as a child and therefore could be more likely to have been exposed to poor schools, a lack of supervision and high stress. It is also possible that they may have been exposed to others committing crime on a more regular basis. These are all factors which could make crime appear more attractive.
Of course, not all crime is committed by the poor and not all poor people commit crime. These figures, just like any research, should not lead to stereotyping of individuals.
The theories listed above do not prove that poor people are more likely to commit crime and, for this reason, they should not be treated as such.