Reasons for Increasing Crime Rate

Poverty and Low Economic Growth

    During periods of economic recession and unemployment, poverty and crime rates tend to increase. When the economy is down, it seems logical that unemployed people can get more motivated to commit crimes involving theft, but this theory is disputed among social scientists. People living in extreme poverty who lack basic necessities such as food can see in crime the only alternative for their survival.

Illegal Drugs and Alcohol

    Higher crime rates can appear in regions with high levels of illegal drugs and alcohol consumption. This trend is also observed in regions where illegal drugs are widely cultivated and traded. The rising production and trade of cocaine in Colombia, for instance, is the most important factor to explain the increase of crime rates in that country in the last few decades. According to an article published in The Guardian newspaper, drugs and alcohol abuse are the cause for most crimes perpetrated by mentally ill people, contrary to the mental disease itself.

Social Inequality

    The income difference between people living in the same region generates a big social-economic gap, breeding social tensions that can increase crime rates. The feeling of dissatisfaction and unfairness, specially reflected in educational and job opportunities, or the lack thereof, can lead the poor to seek compensation through violence and crime. As of 2009, Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington D.C., Miami and New York have the highest levels of inequality in the U.S., similar to those of Abidjan in Cote d'Ivoire, Nairobi in Kenya, Buenos Aires in Argentina and Santiago in Chile, according to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme - UN-HABITAT.

Ineffective Justice System

    In theory, the police and the judiciary have the potential to control crime and violence. However, the lack of resources for the criminal justice system can be a major cause of high crime rates in a region, but not the only one....