Topic: The Link between depressed economy and increased crime rates; Order type: Research paper; Subject: Public Administration; Academic level: Undergraduate; Style: APA; Language: English US; Pages: 3, double spaced; Sources: 3
Running head: LINK BETWEEN DEPRESSED ECONOMY AND INCREASED CRIME RATES
Link between depressed economy and increased crime rates
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LINK BETWEEN DEPRESSED ECONOMY AND INCREASED CRIME RATES 2
Currently, the United States of America is in the recovery phase from a significant
depression period. The recession period is the longest economic depression since the Second
World War. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the crisis began in
2007 and ended in 2009 and a recovery period followed. The country remains in the state of a
slow and uneven recovery. Some economic indicators such as redundancy rate and foreclosures
reached their lowest levels. The current economic crisis in the United States has had adverse
effects on the national and individual states financial plans. As the available sources of funds
continued to shrink, public services and goods endured sustained contraction regarding their
finance. Criminal justice and law enforcements were among the departments expected to
experience significant stumbling blocks. Specifically, in the state of North Carolina, some
scholars linked the depressed economy with an increase in crime while others noted decreased
crime rates. This study seeks to find out the connection between the depressed economy and
increased crime rates. The study explores different research papers, critically analyzes their
findings and draws conclusions.
Recession and crime in North Carolina
The recession is a term that refers to a period of significant decline in trade and industry
activities spread through the economy. The end is visible in the production processes, real
employment income, and other economic pointers. Usually, economic downturn begins when an
individual economy reaches the peak of its activities and ends when the economy touches its
LINK BETWEEN DEPRESSED ECONOMY AND INCREASED CRIME RATES 3
trough. Since the 1960s, USA has experienced more than six recessions. Over the period, crime
rates in North Carolina have increased steadily. However, Hagan, (2009, p. 300) noted that
during some of the recession years, crime was observed to rise while it decreased in other
recession periods. Therefore, the relationship between crime and depression was inconsistent.
Most of the literature written fails to establish the link between the recession and crime
rates. Instead, the research focuses on the influence of macroeconomics drifts towards the law-
breaking rates. However, a closer look at the definition of a recession, one may realize that
several economic variables may be affected during a recession. It further suggests that different
recessions can never be similar. Therefore, some economic variable may vary significantly
during some recessions compared to others. This fact poses challenges in determining the
relationship between depression and crime in general. Most of the researchers tend to examine
the effect of an individual economic pointer such as unemployment rates.
Impact of Unemployment on Crime in North Carolina
The rate of unemployment is an economic pointer, mostly referred to by scholars. Most
of the policy makers and scholars used unemployment rate as an indirect means for economic
growth, during the discussions of the impact of the economy on crime rates in the region. In the
recent recession, there was a rise in the unemployment rates and focus was turned to its impact
on the crime rates. Palermo, (2011, pp. 259-260) notes that employment is among the primary
facilitators of crime and violence. According to him, during the 1960s and 1970s economic
downturn, the rise in joblessness led to rising crime rates. The FBI reports on crime during the
period after the recession indicated that a drop in the unemployment rate resulted in a dramatic
LINK BETWEEN DEPRESSED ECONOMY AND INCREASED CRIME RATES 4
reduction in the rates of crime. Palermo concluded that, even in the recent downturn, increased
rates of unemployment had an undisputable contribution to crime rates in North Carolina.
Another research conducted in North Carolina by Hagan, (2009, pp. 73-74) analysed the
relationship between the offence rates and unemployment in North Carolina. It also compared
the crime rates among the blacks and the whites. The study concluded that:
− Fluctuation in the rate of unemployment motivated criminal activities in the region.
− Increased rates of unemployment among the young people encouraged their involvement
in illegal activities compared to the elderly.
− The whites in the area got involved in crimes more compared to the blacks.
Hagan concludes his findings with a remark that there is a direct positive effect of the
annual changes in the unemployment rates on the annual changes in the crime activities.
According to the above findings, higher unemployment rates lower the expected income, thus
enhancing attractiveness to criminal activities. However, there is no strong experimental support
of the employment-crime link despite the strong believe that the relationship exists.
A more empirical research carried by Freeman & Holzer, (2008, p. 303) proved
otherwise. The duo studied 641 inmates released in Nort Carolina. The jobs were made available
to them, but the majority of them got rearrested later. They carried another study in Maryland
that proved the presence of beneficial effects of unemployment on future violent behaviors.
Therefore, this study concludes that it's not the absence of jobs that motivates the increased rates
of crime. Other factors like lack of motivation contribute to increased crime rates. In the state of
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North Carolina, most of the youth are poorly paid while others are inexperienced in their jobs.
These two factors also contribute to increased crime rates in the state. This study finds no link
between economic recession pointers, in particular, unemployment, and increased crime rates.
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Freeman, B. R., & Holzer, J. H. (2008). The Black Youth Employment Crisis. Chicago:
University of Chicago.
Hagan, J. (2009). Crime and Inequality. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Palermo, B. G. (2011). The Faces of Violence. Springfield: Charles C Thomas Publisher.