Petty crimes such as burglary, trespassing, and property damage are common occurrences in many parts of the world. Other more serious offenses are also rampantly committed, even by teens. Despite strict ordinances and punishments known to the public, it seems like crimes will be part of reality, but the authorities are doing their best to reduce or avoid them.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics has shown that crime rates in the U.S. have dropped, although most crimes are still not reported to the police, and most of the ones reported are not resolved. The rates have also fallen on juvenile arrests, but the figures remain big; an estimated 728,280 arrests of teens below 18 years old were made in 2018.
Convicts of bailable offenses can be temporarily set free through bail bond services available in Summit County, Utah, and other cities in the US. A trial will be conducted after a convict is released on bail, and if the verdict is not guilty, they can be free for good. That said, what motivates people to commit crimes, despite the consequences?
The Theory of Survival Crime
The concept of “survival crime” theorizes that the less fortunate commit property crimes and minor offenses to secure their basic survival. Thus, arresting these individuals violates their basic human rights, so law enforcers must show more leniency. The theory implies that any law enforcement against the less fortunate criminalizes poverty and homelessness.
San Francisco and Seattle have implemented this theory in their criminal justice systems. In California, theft of property valued below $950 has been downgraded to a misdemeanor, sparing habitual shoplifters and thieves from the law. In Seattle and King County, new guidelines were released preventing law enforcers to penalize “homelessness-related crimes.” Thousands of misdemeanor cases against people belonging to the “vulnerable population” are dropped by city and county prosecutors.
The unsurprising results are a rise in petty theft in California and more frustrated residents and law enforcement officers in the cities affected. As of now, there is no definite limit to what’s considered survival crime. If the activists are successful, the justice system may be more concerned about the criminal’s profile rather than the crime committed.
Lessons in ethics and manners should start at home, in early childhood. Parents should also set a good example to their children, and set clear boundaries on what’s right and wrong. Misbehaving and other wrongdoings should have consequences. Children should be nurtured and taught in such a way that they’ll carry the lessons even outside the home, such as in school, with their friends, and in their community.
Parents and other family members should monitor their kids’ activities, especially ones that can have a bad influence on them. If the rules are clearly understood by children, they may be less likely to engage in wrongdoings that may potentially motivate them to commit crimes next. Petty or minor crimes should be clear to them so that they’ll understand the grave consequences of committing more serious ones.
If a crime is committed, especially a heinous one, it must be reported, without question. The “betrayal”, needless to say, is heartbreaking, but when kids become a danger to themselves and to society, turning them in would be the sound solution.
Overall, it shows that there are various reasons people commit a crime. Some do it for survival, while others may be driven by more complicated and psychological factors. As law-abiding citizens, the least we can do is do good, be vigilant, and report any crime we witness, even if it involves people we care about.