The United States is by far, “the most violent and self-destructive nation on Earth,” according to the Judiciary Committee of Violence. Crime has always been a serious problem all nations face, but the crime rate in the United States has increased dramatically during the past decade. While many factors have helped contribute to make the United States the “world leader” in violence, the factors that affect the crime rate most significantly are the age, gender, and social class of offenders.
Research has shown that there is a significant relationship between age and the crime rate. Young people from ages 15 to 25 are responsible for a tremendous portion of arrests and the increasing crime rate. They are involved in almost half of all serious crimes. In the “Age and Explanation of Crime”, Travis Hirschi states that: “regardless of personal characteristics, younger persons commit more crime than older ones.” Lifestyle and society play an important part in why there is such a big increase in crime among young people. The lifestyle of younger people favor risk taking and behavior that can lead them into crime. On the other hand, younger people these days tend to want to grow up much more faster. That attitude also forces them to want wealth or success to come more faster or easier. In a society where success is often measured in dollars, many youths these days will go out of their way to get it.
While men have always had a much higher crime rate than females, the crime rated for females have rapidly increased during the past decade. This could be due to the changing role of woman inn society. In The Contemporary Woman and Crime, Rita James Simon states that, “As women’s roles in the workplace have become more similar to men’s, it is not surprising that their crime rates are converging.” Also, many women are being arrested these days because police officers are more willing to arrest female offenders. There is a significant change in attitudes toward females, as the equal rights for males and females are slowly coming into effect.
The level of poverty in an area can predict its crime rate and crime rates tend to be highest in the lower class slum areas. In the “Social Structure and Criminal Victimization”, Douglas Smith explains that, “the social forces in a high risk, socially disorganized neighborhood-poverty, dilapidated housing, poor schools, broken families, drugs, and street gangs significantly increase the likelihood that residents will engage in criminality.” Often, slum residents attract criminals who find the environment suitable for their criminal acts. Also, the police tend to patrol these are more often than they do to higher class areas, resulting in more arrests.
As a result of the increasing crime rate, the United States now holds the highest number in the world in murders, rapes, and robberies. The murder rate in the United States is 4 times greater than Italy’s and 9 times greater than England’s. The rape rate is over 50 times greater than most countries in Europe. The robbery rate is 50 to 100 times greater than those in Europe. During the past few years, the United States have experienced more than 20,000 homicides.
Many factors have caused the United State’s crime rate to increase during the past decade. The factors that have had a significant relationship to the crime rate are: the age, gender, and social class of the offender. Each of these factors have all been affected in a different way by society, which resulted in an increase of crime and arrests. As our society changes, the crime rate changes because it affects our lives and our behavior.