US: High Crime, High Inequality - Ecological Theory Explains Why - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  939 Words
Date:  2023-02-01


Among the developed economies, the United State enjoys two undesirable distinctions; high rates of crime and high inequality, especially violent crime. That disparity intensifies crime rates is a forecast of the three most influential ecological theories of crime. Ecological theories pursue illustration differences in crime rates through the varying incentives, deterrents, and pressures that people encounter in various settings. In the economic theory of crime, aspects of high inequality place impoverished people who have low returns from economic activity next to high-income people. The social disparity has long been thought to be linked to the crime. Crime rates are low in egalitarian, consensual society and high in an inequitable society characterized by conflicting convictions (Braithwaite, 2013). The paper examines how inequalities directly relate to the rates of violence in the U.S community by focusing on the racialised social system and the reasons violence stems from the same system.

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There is a strong connection between inequality and criminal cases. A simple measure of inequality forecasts about half of the variance in murder rates within the American states. There are different types of crime; they include personal crimes, property crimes, inchoate crimes, and statutory crime. Personal crimes result in physical or psychological harm to another individual. Property crimes entail an interference with another individual's right to use or enjoy their resources. Inchoate crimes are wrongdoings that were started and not finalized. They include solicitation and plot (Bridges, 2018). Statutory crimes entail a defilement of a detailed state or federal statute and can entail property and personal offenses. Numerous African Americans and some whites believe that the justice framework is predisposed against African Americans. Violent crimes are mostly reported in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Houston. The most noticeable aspects in those areas are that they are inhabited by African Americans. In every ensuing generation of young male criminals engage in crimes about three times as many serious crimes like the one before it (Hetey & Eberhardt, 2018).

Although racial prejudice emerges some of the time at some phases of criminal justice proceedings-like juvenile justice-there is limited evidence that racial inequalities result from systematic, over bias. Race and ethnic inequalities in violent offending and victimization are imminent and long-standing. African Americans and to a slighter extent, Spanish Americans experience higher rates of homicide victimization and robbery than the whites. African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of whites. Additionally, the imprisonment rate for black women is twice that of white women. In 2014, the African Americans incarcerated were 2.3 million or 34 percent of the aggregate 6.8 imprisoned population. Although African Americans and Spanish Americans comprise 32 percent of the United States population, they encompassed 56 percent of all imprisoned people in 2015 (Spohn, 2018). Racial inequalities breed racial rioting. Nowadays, racial violence has transformed dramatically, as open violent acts of racism are infrequent but acts of police cruelty and the mass imprisonment of racial minorities continues to be a key issue facing the U.S. Race riots usually have their roots in economic tensions or white defense of the color line (Peterson & Krivo, 2008).

Various theories inform about crime and inequality. In the early 20th century, theories scrutinizing the reasons of criminal behavior tended to observe the origins of criminal conduct as outcomes of publics' free will or other reasons lying within the person. In establishing his argument that the causes of crime have a foundation in society, Bonger explained that economic conditions can influence crime. Bonger argued that a rich country generally may still have a high crime in case some people are impoverished (Cowling, 2008).

In Anomie-Strain theory, Merton emphasized on the objectives-means gap. Merton argued that society encourages deviant behavior by establishing illogical objectives but not the tools required to achieve them. Cloward and Ohlin sought to integrate the theories of Merton and Cohen to illustrate the various kinds of criminal subcultures they theorized in contemporary America. Supporting Merton, they argued that there was a legitimate opportunity structure but they also noted that it was available through gang membership. Nevertheless, just as not all individuals could easily access the genuine opportunity structure and material prosperity, there could also be a strain in connection to insincere opportunity structures (Cowling, 2008).


Conclusively, there is a connection between criminal cases and disparity in the United States. In most of the impoverished neighborhoods in the U.S, there exist high crime rates. Racial discrimination of the African American has been one of the leading causes of crime and violence in the U.S. The minorities in the United States are not economically and are compelled to engage in crime and violent behaviors. One of the ways to reduce violence and crime is to facilitate equal treatment of the minorities by the law enforcement officers. It is also crucial to invest in serious violence-prevention programs. The federal government can assist violence prevention through financing, coordination, research and designing best practices. It is also important to establish measures that prevent domestic violence.


Braithwaite, J. (2013). Inequality, Crime and Public Policy (Routledge Revivals). Routledge.

Bridges, G. S. (2018). Inequality, crime, and social control. Routledge.

Cowling, M. (2008). Marxism and criminological theory: A critique and a toolkit. Basingstoke :England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Hetey, R. C., & Eberhardt, J. L. (2018). The numbers don't speak for themselves: racial disparities and the persistence of inequality in the criminal justice system. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27(3), 183-187.

Peterson, R. D., & Krivo, L. J. (2008). Race, residence, and violent crime: A structure of inequality. U. Kan. L. Rev., 57, 903.

Spohn, C. (2018). Crime and the social control of blacks: Offender/victim race and the sentencing of violent offenders. In Inequality, crime, and social control (pp. 249-268). Taylor and Francis.

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