Crime is often glorified through movies and music. Crime happens in many forms and has different effects. Just about everyone in America has been exposed to some form of crime in their lifetimes, if not performing crimes themselves. Typically, crime is kept under control by processes of the law and law enforcement. Sometimes, however, crime has a tremendous effect on society and the people within it as a whole.
Different types of crime can serve different purposes and functions. In the early 1900s, the Ku Klux Klan began a series of lynchings to keep mental and physical control over the recently freed black population. Other organized crime factions, such as the rise of the Italian mafia in the early 1900s, also served to control neighborhoods and stimulate gigantic profit for those involved and in charge of mob operations. Some crimes, however, aren't as obvious or condemned, such as traffic violations or "soft drug" uses such as marijuana, which is still illegal in the United States.
Crimes are not committed solely by any single race of people or class of people. Crime is committed by people of all origins and backgrounds, and its effects are felt by all in society, not just those in direct contact with the crime. In the end, all those who are involved in active society end up experiencing some effect of crime.
Besides the obvious unrest that is experienced by citizens of a society that has crime, it is also felt in the pockets of tax payers. New prisons and jails, programs for criminals and money for more police protection all come directly and indirectly out of the pocket of taxpayers in America. Some neighborhoods even involve themselves in programs such as neighborhood watches to prevent crimes. In areas where crime is prevalent residents notice direct effects in terms of depreciated housing, education and job availability in the surrounding economy.
A link between increased crime and poverty has been proven through American government research. It shows that those who are exposed to poverty and all of the surrounding factors are more likely to commit crimes than those who are not. This has led to stereotypes that inhibit societal progression between races and cultures. Cases of police traffic stops have also suggested that minorities are stopped more frequently due to the aforementioned reason, leading to laws to counter these practices.
Society loses when investing in new jails rather than paying employees higher wages. A study has proven that society pays over twice the average household income for one inmate's incarceration (see Resources below). This means that instead of that money being invested in prevention through higher wages or better education, taxpayers pay more to keep criminals safe and well fed.
Parents have also felt the sting of crime by changing the ways their children play. It is less likely for children in present days to play outside because of the general unrest of unpredictable and heinous crimes. Alarm systems are on rise for the average American household, as well as paranoid and depressive behavior associated with the effects of crime.
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