Crime can be taken as an act that goes against the basic beliefs and values of a given society (Hennessy, 20). As such, the values and beliefs of a given society act as the main basis for creating laws which a particular society agree upon and use in the fight against criminal activities. In addition, though criminal acts tend to vary from one society to another, there are some criminal acts that are common in different social settings, some of which include; rape, murder and grand theft. Many communities become victims of all the aforementioned vices, though their causes and the social phenomenon associated with them may differ significantly. This paper is going to focus on the pervasiveness of the cases of rape, murder and grand theft which are universally considered as criminal acts among youths aged between twenty and twenty four years, with specific interest in the city of New York which is the most populous city in the US, the Detroit city which is the largest city in the state of Michigan and the city of Philadelphia which is the most largest city in the state of Pennsylvania. The paper will also look at the social phenomena that link these crimes and main causes that are associated with them.
There has been a growing concern about the increase in the cases of rape, murder and grand theft in the cities of New York, Detroit and Philadelphia within the last decade. This has prompted many researchers to try to establish the social phenomena that link these crimes and the main causes that are associated with them.
Social phenomena linking these crimes
An analysis of the three cities clearly depicts that the social settings and environmental factors of these cities are almost similar hence the social phenomena associated with these crimes are highly linked apart from a few unique ones. Statistics indicate that the rate of crime in the mentioned cities is on the increase and is mostly associated with their social settings. Though the aforementioned criminal acts are different i.e. rape, murder and grand theft, there seems to be some social links which apply to all of them. This paper looks at some of the social settings that can be seen to facilitate the occurrences of the above crimes in the aforementioned cities.
It is important to note that the neighborhood of a given area determines the social behavior of that place (Hennessy 22). Rich and well-off neighborhoods are usually seen to have a very different type of social lifestyle as compared to those of middle class and poor neighborhoods. In addition, areas which are associated with economic deprivation and poverty often tend to experience the highest cases of rape, murder and grand poverty as compared to economically stable areas. This is because these same areas normally experience high population turnover and heterogeneity, thus making it so hard for their formal social structures to develop. A failing formal social structure can only mean one thing; it will be so difficult to maintain social order in such communities.
This is the case in some parts of New York, Detroit and Philadelphia. Statistics indicate clearly that the poor towns in these cities are the ones recording the highest number of criminal activities in general. As earlier stated, the social environment of a given area contributes significantly to criminal activities in that place. Some parts of New York, Detroit and Philadelphia are highly characterized by abandoned buildings, large numbers of unemployed people especially those aged between 20 and 24 and places that are prone to drug trafficking activities among many other things. These are some of the major factors which attract criminal activities in these cities (Savitz 45-50).
The social class of a specific group of people is also another social factor which might stimulate the occurrence of criminal activities in a given area. In many cases, the middle class and the working class groups of people live in neighborhoods that can be termed as deteriorating and therefore these people often feel like they are disadvantaged in many ways. This is exactly the case for those people who live in poor neighborhoods in New York, Detroit and Philadelphia. Even though the United States communities have always generally learned to live together and share great dreams, opportunities, prosperity and freedom, thus acting as a motivating factor to all the citizens, when life realities set in, some people realize that the social structure is designed in such a way that the opportunities are unequally distributed. As such, most of them fail to realize their dreams and some are forced to settle for other illegitimate activities such as crime in order to pursue their dreams. Others usually settle for an evasive life of drug abuse and drunkenness (Savitz 52).
Other social factors which link the criminal activities in the aforementioned cities include the types of family set ups and friendship companies which include peer groups. Some families in New York, Detroit and Philadelphia, especially those living in the ghettos have for a long time been associated with grand theft, murders and other social ills. Peer groups have been particularly singled out as a major factor which influences youths aged between twenty and twenty four years to be involved in criminal activities in these cities. Some cases have been associated with genes being passed from generation to generation especially regarding to crimes which are family linked. Some hoods in these cities also have gangs which specialize in criminal activities and the use of drugs.
The institutions in these cities have become social places that have increased the rate of criminal activities. Colleges, schools, prisons, football clubs etc have recorded an alarming number of crimes within or outside these institutions. These settings bring together youths with different characters and backgrounds and when they interact and share their ideas, the end results turn out to be either beneficial to the society or disastrous. Prisons in these cities are meant to rehabilitate criminals, yet criminal activities usually go on within these prisons. In fact, some criminals usually get out of the prisons in worse conditions than they were before. This is a result of the social set up which brings the like minds together, something which might be very disastrous (Hennessy 25-34).
The social stages for these criminal activities are seen to be common in the three cities. For a crime to take place there has to be a motivated criminal, a suitable target or victim and lack of a capable guardian. Most of the grand thefts in these cities include bank robberies, shop robberies and car thefts, and they mostly occur in the rich localities. Murder on the other hand is normally associated with back streets and ghettos where gun shorts are the order of the day. This situation can be linked to the fact that these areas are usually well supplied with unlicensed fire arms, and have insufficient security and very many gangs. On the other hand, rape cases usually take place in specific social settings and contexts such as within families, in mixed schools, within relationships and marriages and in social places such as night clubs.
Main causes of rape
Lust is the main cause of rape. Rape can apply to both genders i.e. a man can be raped by a woman or a woman be raped by a man. Most of the cases of rape that usually occur in these cities are as a result of provocation. Other factors which may lead to rape include certain modes of dressing and behaving in a sexual manner that sends out a wrong signal. Women’s modes of dressing have been proved to have a relationship with male libido. Inquiries into many cases of rape have established that the man usually does not have the thought of raping in his mind in the first place, but is usually provoked by the clothing that extenuates the woman’s attributes. A man exposing his masculine body is also usually taken as a suggestive gesture by females. The use of drugs is also one of the main causes of rape in these states. Some drugs such as Morphine excite the hormones that are responsible for libido; hence the usage of such drugs can easily lead to rape. Alcohol has been a common facilitator of rape, either when one party is drunk or when both parties are drunk (Hennessy 34-40).
The economic status of some regions in these cities has been established to be another main cause of rape. This applies in so many ways but the underlying fact is that women have become so expensive such that a majority of men cannot afford to pay the gate charges into their hearts. Statistics in these states indicate that the number of low class people who are involved in rape cases is usually higher as compared to the rich. The unemployed, unskilled laborers and the less educated are the most victims of rape. This can be explained to be as a result of life frustrations, idleness, use of drugs and congested housings among many other factors in these cities.
Rape is also closely associated with crime in these cities. Many rape cases have been reported to have occurred in crime scenes. Some criminals usually end up raping their victims after robbing them. Nevertheless, some criminals usually plan to rape when they go out.
Main causes of murder and grand theft
Just as in the case of rape, the economic statuses of some of the regions in these cities play a big role when it comes to grand theft and murder. Most grand theft cases are not intended to include murder, but in most cases a number of lives end up being lost. Theft is mainly caused by poverty when a person decides to go for what he cannot find legally using deceitful or forceful means. This explains why the most valuable things are the ones that are usually targeted when it comes to theft. Theft crimes can also be linked to social environment and the influence of peers. Some people or gangs steal for fun and some for fame. This situation also applies to the case of murder since most of them are associated with gang fights and revenge. Some of them are serial killings. Domestic violence has also been cited as one of the major causes of murder in these states. In addition, some cases of murder are attributed to self defense especially in the poor regions in these cities where crime rates are high (Savitz 63-70).
Even though rape, murder and grand theft are different crimes, it is clear that they are associated with similar social phenomena which gives rise to them in these cities, especially for youths aged between twenty and twenty four years. These crimes are also related since the occurrence of one criminal act can lead to another one e.g. rape and murder. The main causes of these crimes in the three cities are also closely related and are mostly linked to specific social settings in these cities.