What are your thoughts on 'Eliminating Poverty will Eliminate Crime!'? I disagree, because there are many people who grew up in perfect neighbourhoods who became hackers or other white collar...

What are your thoughts on 'Eliminating Poverty will Eliminate Crime!'? 

I disagree, because there are many people who grew up in perfect neighbourhoods who became hackers or other white collar crimes, but I would like a few second opinions.

Expert Answers
geosc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The idea that eliminating poverty will eliminate crime, is an insult to all the honest, poor people in the world.

There is likely more truth in the saying, eliminating bastardy will eliminate crime.  That, of course, is also a generalization, and so is untrue for many individuals, but may be more true across the board than the poverty statement.  Many children growing up without adult male influence, become gang members or street walkers, or at least promiscuous and begat more little bastards more likely to become criminals. This is true of middle-class bastards as well as of the impoverished. 

There is also a big coorelation between the single-parent household and poverty.  A woman attempting to raise children without a man has little chance of being anything but poor.  A man and a woman together have a much better chance of not being poor.  Perhaps the person who made the poverty statement, confused bastardy for poverty, since there is the big coorelation.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is evidence to suggest that poverty and crime are certainly related.  Historically, when the economy goes down, crime goes up.  There is also evidence to suggest that properly executed welfare programs have helped reduce crime, especially in big cities.  But to make the statement "eliminating poverty will eliminate crime" suggests that ALL crime is the result of poverty, which simply is not true.

You mentioned "white collar" crime.  True.  Also consider crimes of passion, corruption (and crime) in politics, the vast amount of crime in big businesses - embezzlement, tax fraud, etc.  Not to mention adultery, which I think affects the poor and rich equally.  If you are attempting to prove this and need more ideas, check out the links below.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Eliminating poverty will not eliminate crime. There is just so much crime in the world that it would be impossible to eliminate. In addition, there are many types of crimes that occur. They are certainly not all committed by poor people. I do agree that if there is a decrease in poverty then there will be a decrease in crime, but crime will still exist.

For example, look at Bernie Maddoff. He was a very wealthy stock broker and investment advisor. He turned his business into a ponzi scheme and ended up stealing billions of dollars from his clients. It was the largest ponzi scheme in history.

Crime is committed for many reasons. It is committed out of necessity, greed, power, revenge, etc. Crime will always exist.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, the only way to eliminate poverty is to eliminate greed or the desire to have more than we have.  But that seems to be part of human nature...

I think that eliminating poverty would help because poor people have greater gaps between what they have and what they want.  I think that when the gap is narrower, there will be less crime.

But the gap will never close for all people.  There is always something more to reach for.  And sometimes that is not a tangible goal.  Sometimes people will commit crime because they want more excitement or more power than they already have.

hala718 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I also do believe that crime and poverty are related. However, eliminating poverty will not eliminate crime but it will reduce number of crimes since we have executed one of the causes.

There are many reasons for the crime in the community and poverty only responsible for a part of it.

The question is, how are we going to eliminate poverty in a community? This is a hard question because to eliminate poverty we need to think of the causes and eliminate them which is a very challenging but rewarded task.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think anything will eliminate all crime.  I do think ending poverty could eliminate a majority of crime, in that while economic motivation is a driving force behind a lot of criminal activity, the economic conditions of poverty - poor schools, run down neighborhoods, unemployment, etc. - contribute even more towards developing criminal behavior, in my opinion.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We need to remember that so much of crime is committed by lower classes - which seems to establish a direct link between poverty and need and crime. Therefore this indicates that elimating poverty would remove the motive or need for many to commit crime. Of course, this is only part of the solution - meaningful employment and further training opportunities are also key.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

People commit crimes for different reasons.  Poverty might be one of them, but it certainly isn't the only reason...therefore, the premise that eliminating poverty will completely eliminate crime is absurd.  There are many criminals who are quite wealthy, but they commit crimes for the thrill of it alone. 

frizzyperm | Student

Eliminating poverty will not eliminate crime. Crime due to poverty is not the only crime, not by a long long way.

Richer people don't rob cars or liquor stores, instead they fiddle income tax and insurance claims. Or use lawyers to lie and twist the legal-process to their advantage. Or drive drunk, (low-brow cops stop the poor, black guy instead.) Middle class crime is invisible. It is white-collar crime or 'victimless crime' as it is erroneously called. Poor people don't have the skills or access to the system to commit victimless crime.

And obviously, the super-rich have even more acces to the system than middle-class people, they make their billion-dollar crimes look legal (Enron, Haliburton, Bernie Madoff etc etc). Eg. If you took all the blue collar crime for the last 1000 years, it would look tiny when compared to the recent banker's grey-area, off-balance-sheet actions that were more than ten times the legal maximum. The Law said the banks could only lend 'X' percent of their capital, but they completely broke the law and lent '10X' and crashed the global economy, ruined millions of lives and bankrupted many countries. And shmucks like You and Me will be paying it back for the next 25 years. But they didn't even have to payback their nice bonuses, did they, let alone go to jail?

Or how about Union Carbide killing 50,000 people in India and just hiring the world's best lawyers to batter any opposition?

The more powerful you are, the more criminal you can be. Bush started an illegal war and 500,000 died, he kidnapped people from around the world and locked them up in a secret base and tortured them. But I don't think the police are going to arrest him anytime soon, they are too busy busting some Puerta Rican guy who stole half a bottle of Jack Daniels from the 7/11.

skigba18 | Student

This should be a deliberating issue, since crime has been the order of every day life. people commit crime due to cretain reasons best known by them. this topic simply implies that all poor people are criminals, since eliminating poverty will eliminate crime. this the little contribution i can add or make in this topic. so what do you think.... i mean the person asking the question. 

lit24 | Student

The statement "eliminating poverty will eliminate crime," is logically not clear. Do you wish to state

1. "eliminating poverty completely will eliminate crime totally?" or do you wish to state

2. "eliminating some forms of  poverty will eliminate some crime?"

1. If you choose the first statement, then it is impossible to completely wipe out poverty consequently, it will also be impossible to completely eliminate crime.

2. If you choose the second statement, then yes to a certain extent it is possible to partially eliminate crime if you raise the standard of living of the people.

But you can never eliminate crime by eliminating poverty because poverty is not the only reason for people to commit crimes. some of the other reasons are: lust, greed, revenge, sadism and even genetic.


krishna-agrawala | Student

In conditions of great poverty it becomes very difficult to find honest employment for people to earn enough money even to provide basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter for themselves and their families. In such conditions, the the cost of engaging in some crimes in terms of effort involved and the risks of getting caught and facing the legal and social consequences, becomes comparatively less than the benefit of being able to at least have some of the basic needs fulfilled. In this way poverty does increase the rate of some petty crime like holdups and burglary.

However there are many crimes that are not committed because of lack of opportunities for earning an honest living, but out of desire of an easy life and and greed for much more than what one can hope to earn by honest means. These include much political and economical scams as well as organized crimes like drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, and major burglaries. Poverty, does not directly lead to increase in such types of crimes.