Crime and Economic Conditions

For many years, criminologists have recognized that there is a direct association between crime and economic conditions, but as Vold, Bernard, and Snipes (2002) have noted, there is nothing resembling universal consensus regarding the degree to which economic conditions shape criminal or deviant behavior. Certainly, any casual observer of current events in the United States is aware that neighborhoods and communities characterized by high rates of poverty and unemployment also tend to be communities in which crime rates are somewhat high. Additionally, Vold, et al (2002) have pointed out that the data on crime rate fluctuations in the context of economic conditions is also contradictory. Some studies have actually indicated that crime decreases during economic depressions or recessions, but many theorists continue to argue that there is a significant causal association between economic conditions and crime.

While the research on crime and economic conditions may be contradictory, other theories are less difficult to validate. Emile Durkheim (2003) offered a structural function



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