Most folks know that liberals have always linked poverty with crime. These same folks with common sense already knew that the reason for poverty is due to liberal policies. So, what causes people to commit crimes if it isn’t poverty?
Heather Mac Donald, reporting for the Wall Street Journal, is asking questions about this liberal myth. If poverty is the root cause of lawlessness, why did crime rates fall when joblessness increased?
The recession of 2008-09 has undercut one of the most destructive social theories that came out of the 1960s: the idea that the root cause of crime lies in income inequality and social injustice. As the economy started shedding jobs in 2008, criminologists and pundits predicted that crime would shoot up, since poverty, as the “root causes” theory holds, begets criminals. Instead, the opposite happened. Over seven million lost jobs later, crime has plummeted to its lowest level since the early 1960s. The consequences of this drop for how we think about social order are significant.
The notion that crime is an understandable reaction to poverty and racism took hold in the early 1960s. Sociologists Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin argued that juvenile delinquency was essentially a form of social criticism. Poor minority youth come to understand that the American promise of upward mobility is a sham, after a bigoted society denies them the opportunity to advance. These disillusioned teens then turn to crime out of thwarted expectations.
The theories put forward by Cloward, who spent his career at Columbia University, and Ohlin, who served presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Carter, provided an intellectual foundation for many Great Society-era programs. From the Mobilization for Youth on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1963 through the federal Office of Economic Opportunity and a host of welfare, counseling and job initiatives, their ideas were turned into policy.
The Cloward mentioned above is the same Cloward that developed the Cloward-Piven strategy . Cloward & Piven wanted to force political change through orchestrated crisis. Doesn’t that sound like the same strategy Obama is using now?
Mac Donald points out several time-lines that defeat the liberal claims that poverty causes crime…
The 1960s themselves offered a challenge to the poverty-causes-crime thesis. Homicides rose 43%, despite an expanding economy and a surge in government jobs for inner-city residents. The Great Depression also contradicted the idea that need breeds predation, since crime rates dropped during that prolonged crisis. The academy’s commitment to root causes apologetics nevertheless persisted. Andrew Karmen of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice echoed Cloward and Ohlin in 2000 in his book “New York Murder Mystery.” Crime, he wrote, is “a distorted form of social protest.” And as the current recession deepened, liberal media outlets called for more government social programs to fight the coming crime wave. In late 2008, the New York Times urged President Barack Obama to crank up federal spending on after-school programs, social workers, and summer jobs. “The economic crisis,” the paper’s editorialists wrote, “has clearly created the conditions for more crime and more gangs—among hopeless, jobless young men in the inner cities.”
Even then crime patterns were defying expectations. And by the end of 2009, the purported association between economic hardship and crime was in shambles. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, homicide dropped 10% nationwide in the first six months of 2009; violent crime dropped 4.4% and property crime dropped 6.1%. Car thefts are down nearly 19%. The crime plunge is sharpest in many areas that have been hit the hardest by the housing collapse. Unemployment in California is 12.3%, but homicides in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Times reported recently, dropped 25% over the course of 2009. Car thefts there are down nearly 20%.
Why did liberals, like Cloward, want to push the myth that poverty causes crime? It was an excuse to redistribute the wealth to the unproductive in society. Liberals always attempt to place blame except where blame is due. The individual is responsible for their actions, not society. Liberal parents also share the majority of the blame. Poverty was just an easy scapegoat.
Not to Liberals: Poverty doesn’t cause crime…Criminals do! There are several reasons to why crime rates are lower. The increased sales of guns since Obama was elected is a major crime deterrent. Second reason is that when you keep criminals in prison, they’re not on the streets committing crimes against the productive folks in society. I know you liberals hate facts but the proof can be found in the stats.