Everyday morning while reading the news, we only realise that the crime rate is on a rise. Well, as a common man one can only not indulge in crime, hope for crime to stop or help reduce crime. However, we forget to question the intent and reason behind heinous criminal behaviour. Most of the times, nobody simply indulges in crime by putting their future at a risk of legal punishment or death for kicks. There is obviously a larger purpose serving this criminal behaviour. Human behaviour guiding human actions is undertaken to serve some psychological aim. This holds to be true for criminal behaviour. Most of the time crime is performed in order to satisfy monetary needs, revenge, or simply some unforeseen conditions. There is no justification for crime at any given point; however there are reasons which help us learn that criminals are actually a product of societal inequalities and aspirations.
Thus, we have established the fact that a person commits crimes due to several psychological as well as sociological reasons. Crime in the traditional society was not pathological; the criminal wave didn’t break the rocks of society however it did put a dent in morality. The shift to modern society with the reigns of capitalism becoming stronger, and the American dream getting converted into reality, crime rates can be seen surging. According to Marcus Aurelius, ‘Poverty is the mother of crime’. Some people are simply at a greater risk of becoming offenders because of the circumstances into which they are born. Especially while talking in reference to the Indian society, a person from a lower caste is pushed towards committing crime due to the lack of opportunities and inequalities prevailing in the Indian system. For instance, lack of educational resources automatically causes exclusion, thus to make big bucks, they tend to indulge in robbery, thefts and murders in the same process.
Crime takes place due to the structural tensions and lack of moral regulation within the society. If the aspirations of individuals and society’s rewards do not match, then a disparity arises because of which people turn to crime. For instance, it is much easier for students in Mexico to sell crack cocaine and earn easy money rather than study diligently for 18 years. Obviously, people do study to make big bucks but the incentive to resort to cocaine is just stronger. Decreasing wages, unemployment due to the requirement of skills and replacement of humans by machines has led to increasing criminalisation. Conflicts arising due to deprivation, social exclusion and unjust distribution of authority has led to an increase in crimes. Thus, crime is an inevitable response to the amalgamation of capitalistic individualism and inequalities.
While watching movies, we often recognise the villain (criminal) due to the stereotypical representation via black clothes, gold chains, tattoos etc. However in real life, it is impossible to recognise a criminal. You might be sharing a cab with a criminal and still not realise it. This is because today crimes are not just committed by the social scum or the marginalised. While robbery, loot etc. takes place due to poverty, what can be a possible explanation for white-collar crimes, tax evasions, embezzlement? These are committed by the rich and the rather powerful. In fact not just committed, they are also hidden extremely well.
We often associate crime with poverty, or tend to be scared of socially backward people for the typical image that they may rape you, or loot you. However most of the deprived people are hired by the powerful and wealthy to commit crimes. For instance, during elections, votes are not rigged literally by the political candidate but by people hired to do so. These people are made to be the scapegoat. They tend to conform to indulge in such criminal behaviour because of lucrative monetary gains as well as the fear of the powerful. This is similar to a horse cart wherein the horse does all the work but the jockey takes the money and provides some amount of nourishment to the horse.
Studies show that crimes increase at an alarming rate close to elections, thus throwing light on how the powerful actually indulge in crimes to remain in power with the onus falling on the marginalised. In many societies, laws made by the rich and powerful are used as a tool to maintain this power and privilege. It is high time we stop associating crime with Blacks or Dalits. Today unfortunately, crime has become dynamic, while the deprived still have a reason to resort to crime; the powerful are only degrading the moral fabric on the society in order to satisfy their greed. Powerful people committing crimes barely get caught thus providing an incentive to others to indulge in crime.
According to Napoleon, “The infectiousness of crime is like that of plague”. While crime in no given situation is justified, there are circumstances giving rise to deviant and criminal behaviour. It is ironic how those who are socially excluded and form a minority in the society are the major perpetrators of crime, or at least so painted and twisted by the wealthy and powerful. With close intervention we can see how society is causing criminals to be born and the politically inclined and monetarily driven are nurturing them. Behind every action there is an instinct, there is societal inequalities and inferiority complexes. A lot of people take up crimes not to deviate from the societal norms or to rebel but simply to survive.
Picture Credits : blog.forumias.com