How Poverty, Alcohol And Greed Are The Causes Of Crime

It is hard to tell why people commit various crimes as there are many different causes. Some individuals believe that crimes are committed based on a rational choice while other groups believe that crime is a result of poor social circumstances. People have to be held accountable for their actions, but it is understandable why some people are more likely to commit crime than others and we must remember that it is usually a combination of factors that lead to crime. In my essay, I will be discussing if poverty, alcohol or greed are contributing factors towards crime.


Education plays a big part in all our lives and a lack of education might lead to a lack of opportunities later in life. It is often claimed that low literacy is related to unemployment, a lack of ambition, poor, physical and mental health which can lead to crime. It was reported on the BBC News on the 28th of December 2012 Most Scottish prison inmates 'have poor reading skills'. In a survey I conducted 60% of people thought poverty was the main cause of crime.

Local authorities with large cities and urban areas tend to have a higher crime rate than more rural areas. Many of these areas are considered deprived of some areas not having enough facilities, fewer resources, and opportunities, for example in health and education especially for young people. This can lead to boredom which can lead to crime. Young people who commit crimes will have a criminal record for the rest of their lives and this will impact on their job prospects. In Scotland, for example, Glasgow city council recorded the largest number of crimes in 2017.

Many young people may feel peer pressure to fit in especially if they are from a poorer background and shoplift items they cannot afford to buy for example a mobile phone. Young people might think this will impress their friends not fully releasing the consequences of their actions, actions always have consequences and a criminal record is for the rest of their lives. Some young people may come from poor family backgrounds and have no positive family network or role models to look up to. In some urban areas there has been a steady decline in sporting and cultural activities leading to boredom. Often young people will join gangs who become their world and family. Some gangs are often involved in criminality and drug dealing. Violence becomes a means of winning status in the gangs and community.


There is a strong link between drugs, alcohol and violent crimes, 42% of violent crime in Scotland is alcohol-related. The Scottish Ambulance Service attended over 1,000 emergency incidents relating to alcohol-related violence in 2016-17. In Scotland binge drinking is a big problem, alcohol is cheap and easily available it has been well documented the destructive influence of certain fortified wines such as Buckfast 'Buckie'. 60% of young offenders report being drunk at the time of their offence. It is estimated that there are about 61,000 addicts in Scotland and In 2017 there were 934 drug-related deaths. Many children grow up in substance-abusing households, neglected and not encouraged to attend school, this has an impact on their opportunities and job prospects later in life. Criminal parents often lead their children into crime. People who are addicted to drugs commit further crimes to get money to fund their drug habit, for example, housebreaking/burglary and shoplifting.


Not all crimes are committed by those in poverty, some are committed by those from affluent backgrounds wanting more money this can be referred to as ‘Greed not Need’. White collar crime such as fraud, corruption, bribery and money laundering seems to be a more modern day offence carried out by intelligent people with good or privately educated backgrounds. Financial offenses are carried out by intelligent smartly dressed professionals abusing positions of power and trust with deception to con people out of their money.


We can read from my essay that there are many contributing factors towards crime but deprivation and poverty certainly play a big part. There are many causes of deprivation These are: income, employment, health, education, housing, access to services, crime, drug and alcohol abuse. The Scottish government and local authorities need to work more closely together to regenerate and redevelop cities and city regions and their local economies, otherwise, poverty in Scotland will continue. The most deprived communities in Scotland will suffer more because of hundreds of millions of pounds of cuts to schools and local services. In a survey I conducted recently I asked 20 people if they thought that if we reduced poverty levels we would be reducing crime levels and 95% of them agreed. This shows that the majority of people believe there is a strong link between poverty and crime in Scotland.

16 December 2021
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