Crime is a word that is no longer strange to the modern man as it seems to have become a norm in almost every society despite the menace it poses. Increase in crime rate all over the world has become a source of major concern as people no longer feel safe and protected.
Any act that puts a fellow human being in danger or poses as a threat to life and property is considered a crime. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary refers to it as activities that involve breaking the law. It also defines it as an illegal act or activity that is punishable by law. As long as it is a violation of the laid down laws, rules, and regulations of a society or the country at large, it is a crime, and such an act is punishable by the law.
Crime is described as an imbalance in societal norms, a breach in social standards, or antisocial behaviour or social deviance, however, threatening life and property. Almost every family, is the basic unit of the society, in one way or the other, has been exposed to lawbreaking. They have either been direct or indirect victims or even perpetrators of crimes. These days it is very difficult to determine what acts can be perceived as a crime even with the legal system in existence because daily the “rules” of crime are changing. A lot of Crime fiction has been written both in English and other languages, and sometimes these books seem to encourage criminal actions and vices. These books have been written in both long and short narrative form. For example, Joseph Conrad’s the secret agent, J.D Salinger’s Catcher in the rye, etc. The title of the books on face value most times does not show that it cripples crime reduction.
The topic of crime is a constant discussion of the governments of different societies. They have tried and are still trying their possible best to provide security for citizens and reduce the rate of crime. However, it looks like all efforts at crime reduction and prevention strategy have not been productive. The rate of increase in crime is alarming. People are afraid to step out of their homes for fear of all kinds of violence. On the flip side, some resort to self-protection; owning guns and sharp objects such as knives in order to defend themselves against crime.
What are the Causes of crime?
In order to effectively tackle the issues of crime, we need to know and understand its root causes. Crimes can be perpetrated as a result of factors such as envy, hatred, perceived injustice and partiality, fear and even discontentment or greed. Factors influencing crime can be sociological, psychological, economic or even biological. The unhealthy desire for material things can lead to crimes such as robbery or murder.
Since the 19th century, it has been believed that mentally challenged individuals or extremely poor people are more likely to commit a crime. However, other factors such as peer pressure, substance abuse, and family trouble and so on have been known to increase the crime rate. Psychological disorders whether triggered by traumatic events or not in some individuals is also a strong factor.
Effects of crime
The effects of crime are felt in all arms of the society, and with each passing day, it looks more difficult to survive. Putting it mildly, it is safe to say that many have no more trust in the government to protect them. Day in day out, many lose their lives or family members and property to crime. Some victims of crime even become criminals as a result of post-traumatic stress disorders. Some suffer from fear and anxiety, depression and anger. This reduces their productivity in the society. Some people become extremely paranoid, questioning every act of kindness and looking over their shoulders as they walk. Even those who are not directly affected suffer from lack of peace. This leads to social unrest and sparks of violence at little things. It is impossible to say what kind of effect that crime will have on an individual or even the society because people respond to situations differently. Sometimes the effects can be short term or long term depending on coping strategies of those affected either directly or indirectly.
Prevention of crime includes all activities aimed at crime reduction and deterring individuals from perpetrating crime. Every country has in place a prevention strategy to combat crime in their society. it is, however, a question of concrete it is. One such prevention strategy is crime analysis. Crime analysis focuses on tactically deducing and investigating crimes and those guilty.
The end goal is to ensure justice and dispense punishment to those guilty. In order to achieve this, several bodies and committees are set up with crime analysis as their sole duty. For example, bodies like the CIA, FBI in the USA are responsible for investigating and analyzing crimes, and they are a form of prevention strategy to deter people from committing offenses.
Sensitization programs are also organized by security bodies to educate citizens on preventive measures against crime. People are advised to be very watchful in their neighbourhoods and to immediately report suspicious activities or persons. Substance abuse is also being looked down on in various societies. Young adults, children and adolescents alike are being taught the dangers of substance abuse and its effects. Parents too are advised to be more sensitive to their children knowing the kind of company their children keep and also being very sensitive to their needs.
Crime is caused by economic factors can be reduced and prevented by introducing more flexible allowances such that the rate of poverty is reduced. When the rate of poverty is reduced, invariably, crimes like robbery and burglary will drastically reduce.
Having an almost crime-free society is very difficult in these times but very possible. Crime is wrong and abnormal in any society so all hands should be on deck. Individuals and the government should work hand in hand to ensure law and order.