Crime and Poverty is a Social Problem

Length: 4 Pages 1069 Words

Polls show that Americans regard crime as the number one social problem facing the nation. We fear being a victim of violent crime, or having our property violated, is far more than we fear being unemployed or suffering a loss of income. The career criminal according to James Q. Wilson, was long ago identified as: "typically an impulsive young man who grew up in a discordant family where one or both parents had a criminal record, discipline was erratic, and the human relations were cold and unpredictable. He had a low IQ and poor verbal skills. His behavioral problems appeared early, often by age eight, and included dishonesty and aggressiveness. Even in kindergarten or first grade he was disruptive, defiant, and badly behaved. He had few friends, and was not emotionally close to those associates with whom he began stealing and assaulting." The crime rate is increasingly concentrated in the inner city. You are actually less likely to be assaulted, raped, robbed, or burglarized today than you were in 1980, unless you are a minority resident in an inner-city neighborhood. For the middle white class, all crime rates except auto theft are down. The fear of crime is universal even if the actuality is local. For minorities ra Continue...


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Functionalists want practical solutions to practical problems and are usually committed to scientific engineering as a basis for change with an emphasis on gradualism, order, and the maintenance of equilibrium. Crime and other social problems, such as the breakdown of families, result from the reduction of economic opportunities for poor people, especially poor minorities. Its epistemology tends to be positivist. They believe that by having these set in place it will help keep crime and poverty down. Poverty is also caused by a refusal on the part of individuals to take responsibility for their own economic well being. The functionalist view is that they focus on social order based on understood agreements. Black males living in these areas are 10 times more likely to die violently than the average American is. Out of wedlock births creates a cycle of material poverty. Parental neglect or abuse can push those with such predisposition into a life of crime. If no polices are set in place to show this, everyone will have their own idea of right and wrong. I believe that both views have their good points and bad points, but I agree more with the functionalist view. This is a combination of written laws and unspoken laws that people follow to keep social order. However, early intervention with at risk children can prevent them from becoming criminals. It is the dominant ideology of our time and characterized by a concern for social order, consensus and social integration.

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