Although crime reports say crime in the US has seen a general decrease over the last 25 years, in May of this year a document released by the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, show a 9 percent increase in violent crime nationwide.
The New York Times reported at the time that no one could agree on why 2016 was showing a spike (noting the heroin epidemic, gang violence and economic factors as some possible theories) and whether or not we should be concerned.
The above crime map shows how crime in the US has changed from 1960 – 2014. But, what exactly are the causes of crime increases and decreases? CrimeinAmerica.net list these as the Top Ten Factors Contributing to Violent Crime:
- Gangs 82 %
- Juveniles / youth crime 80 %
- Economy / poverty / unemployment 74 %
- Impulsive violence / disrespect issues 74 %
- Release of offenders from correctional institutions 69 %
- Drugs – Cocaine 67 %
- Poor parenting 63 %
- Increased availability of guns 55 %
- Reduced cooperation from witnesses / victims 37 %
- Educational system – increasing dropout rates 36 %
There are host of theories out there that we narrowed it down to these leading suggestions on the causes of crime in the USA .
1: Substance Abuse
Drugs and alcohol are said to play a huge role in increases and decreases in crime in the USA. In many cases, people who are addicted and unable to financially sustain their addictions, end up turning to crime to pay for their habit — not to mention the criminal element of the drug industry itself, from traffickers to gangs trading in substances.
2: Family Environment
A breakdown in the family environment is a huge contributing factor to crime in the US. Children who spend their formative years in abusive circumstances where they are neglected or where they are subjected to violence are said to be more prone to violent behavior. Therefore, the theory is that in areas where there is less violence and abuse in the home, there will be less crime in the USA.
3. Mental Health Issues
Although the majority of people who suffer from emotional and mental problems do not commit violent crime in the US, access to support for mental conditions by the government is said to be a contributing factor to crime statistics. For instance, if the criminal justice system does not have the infrastructure to provide mental health care, repeat offenses are more likely to occur.
4. Law Enforcement
Crime data shows law enforcement effectiveness is a huge contributing factor to the crime rate. The theory being that correctly managed and sufficiently staffed departments create more deterrent, whereas areas with ineffectual funding and infrastructure leave it wide open for criminals to operate without fear and making it harder for us to protect our homes and valuables.
5. The Prison System
Another contributing factor to the decrease and increase of crime is said to be the state of the U.S prison population. Criminologists and sociologists suggest that harsher sentencing means lower crime statistics while others state that given the decline in crime over the last 25 years, it’s proof that prison reform and decrease in prison rates affects crime positively.
The rate of poverty and unemployment is known worldwide to have a big influence on crime rates. US crime statistics show that where unemployment is lower, poverty is lower and therefore crime is lower. Over the last eight years, the unemployment rate in the U.S has seen a decrease, which a lot of experts say could explain the overall decrease in crime.
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