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NCJ Number: 31582 Find in a Library
Title: PERCEIVED RELATIVE DEPRIVATION AS A CAUSE OF PROPERTY CRIME
Journal: CRIME AND DELINQUENCY  Volume:22  Issue:1  Dated:(JANUARY 1976)  Pages:17-30
Author(s): C R CHESTER
Corporate Author: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
United States of America
Date Published: 1976
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Newark, NJ 07102
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE AUTHOR FEELS THAT THE FRUSTRATION PRODUCED BY PERCEIVED RELATIVE DEPRIVATION IS A KEY CAUSE OF CRIME AND PROPOSES CRIME PREVENTION MEASURES WHICH TAKE THIS INTO ACCOUNT.
Abstract: POVERTY HAS LONG BEEN SUSPECTED AS A ROOT CAUSE OF CRIME, ESPECIALLY CRIME AGAINST PROPERTY. THUS, MEMBERS OF THE LOWER CLASS HAVE LONG BEEN THOUGHT TO COMMIT THE BULK OF CRIME, AT LEAST AS CRIME IS DEFINED BY MIDDLE-CLASS LAWMAKERS. ABSOLUTE POVERTY, HOWEVER, HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE FAR LESS CRIMINOGENIC THAN RELATIVE POVERTY. THEREFORE, LOWER-CLASS CRIME AGAINST THE MIDDLE AND UPPER CLASSES OCCURS MOST OFTEN WHERE ACCESS TO PERCEIVED MIDDLE-CLASS VALUES AND LIFESTYLES IS MOST PRONOUNCED: IN AREAS WHERE LARGE NUMBERS OF THE RELATIVELY RICH LIVE NEAR THE RELATIVELY POOR, OR IN AREAS OF HIGH MEDIA PENETRATION, WHERE MORE AFFLUENT LIFESTYLES ARE CONSTANTLY AND WIDELY DEPICTED. THUS, MUCH PROPERTY CRIME IS THE PRODUCT OF CUPIDITY, STIMULATED BY EASY ACCESS TO INFORMATION ABOUT 'BETTER' LIFESTYLES. IT IS HERE POSTULATED THAT THE PERCEPTION OF ONE'S RELATIVE DEPRIVATION STIMULATES THE TENDENCY TO COMMIT PROPERTY CRIME AMONG ALL MEMBERS OF SOCIETY AND THAT THIS CANNOT BE CHANGED WITHOUT A FUNDAMENTAL RESTRUCTURING OF AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS. ONE WAY TO ACHIEVE THIS WOULD BE FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO LIMIT SEVERELY THE TRANSFER OF WEALTH THROUGH GENERATIONS AND TO USE THE REVENUES THUS OBTAINED TO PROVIDE EVERY MEMBER OF SOCIETY WITH AN ADEQUATE BASE INCOME. SINCE UNDER SUCH A SYSTEM ALL INDIVIDUALS WOULD HAVE MORE NEARLY EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, PERCEIVED RELATIVE DEPRIVATION, AND THUS PROPERTY CRIME, WOULD DROP MARKEDLY. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT)
Index Term(s): Cause removal crime prevention; Class discrimination; Crime prevention measures; Poverty and crime; Property crime causes; Property crimes; Social change; Social classes
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