The Current State Of Academic Literature On The Relationship Between Poverty And Robbery Rates

The Current State Of Academic Literature On The Relationship Between Poverty And Robbery Rates

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Literature Review
Robbery rates have always fluctuated depending on many outside factors. Currently, we are experiencing a trend of decreasing robbery rates. The academics are intrigued and eager to see why this phenomenon is happening. This paper will examine and summarize the current state of academic literature on the relationship between poverty and robbery.
People commit robbery for endless reasons. However, many argue that poverty is a factor that plays a huge role of influencing someone to commit a crime. Poverty is defined as a feeling of hopelessness because one does not have the financial means to support oneself and the loved ones to the standard that society has deemed fit and appropriate. Robbery is an act of taking goods or service from someone with a threat of force or intimidation. The question we should ask ourselves is if poverty rates have a direct effect on robbery rates? Common sense would likely be that as poverty rates increase the robbery rates should increase also.
Bjerk (2010) developed a model to assess whether poverty correlates with criminal acts such as robbery in different neighborhoods. He found that a poor individual values additional money above his fixed income much more than a rich individual. As a result, he argues that a poor person has bigger motive to steal. The model also shows that the individual incentives to be more violent raise as poverty in the neighborhood increases. In addition, Bjerk notes that as the neighborhood is segregated and the makeup of the population consists primarily of poor individuals, robbery and other violent crime rates will skyrocket. This is because the neighborhood feels abandoned and people have less social and economic ties which entices them to be less c...


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...ommitted by those juveniles decreased. The results suggested that property offenses among the study participants were higher in the poorer neighborhood due to the better target suitability in that neighborhood. The study also found that the robbery reduction was most prominent change among the individuals of the study. That is phenomenal since the social cost of the robbery is much higher than the perceived risk of additional property crimes.
In conclusion, the state of the literature suggests that poverty is directly correlated to robbery and other crimes. Also, it is important to state that poverty is just one of the many factors simultaneously influencing crime rates, and poverty as a factor can be more or less prominent of a factor depending on the other factors such as the geographical, demographical and cultural makeup of the neighborhood.

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