Selected Social Determinanats Of Crime In A Small Island Nation State

Crime is any act which violates a legal norm, code of conduct or statute. There are different categories of crime such as serious, civil, capital, petty and juvenile. A number of factors influence this categorization. For instance, serious crime may be so defined because it may result in the theft of large sums of monies or in harm or injury to the person. In contrast petty crime may not be so financially or personally harmful. The categorization of crime may be specific to county or state. For example, in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica the terms serious and major are used to refer to crimes such as murder, robbery, theft and battery.

In most western societies crime is a serious social problem which threatens social order. Order will be threatened where the blurring of the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable behavior occurs. In other words levels of civility sink so low that people become indifferent and cynical that misdemeanor no longer sends shock waves or moral panics. Over the last five years the murder rate has been so high that in Trinidad and Tobago newspaper columnists, journalists and writers have reported growing indifference to this phenomenon.

The social determinants of crime are manifold, complex and interrelated. For instance, poverty, unemployment and social isolation may work together to produce higher levels of petty crime among certain groups such as the marginalized or underclass in urban centers. On the other hand members of the lower class appear to be under so much economic strain that they engage in property crimes such as larceny, shop lifting and mugging. Domestic crimes such as rape, incest and domestic violence again men, women and children are also perpetrated in greater numbers in conditions of extreme poverty and hardships.

Gang subculture has accounted for a large number of murders in urban areas in Western Trinidad. Police statistics show that the vast majority of homicides are classified as gang related. The easy access to guns, coupled with low detection rates are significant catalysts for this type of homicide. Many witnesses are afraid to testify even when witness protection is offered. Criminologists have associated gang related homicide largely to poverty, absentee fathers, low educational attainment and unemployment. In other instances the fight for lucrative state contracts has produced some killings in urban neighborhoods.

There is ample evidence that some crimes represent civil disobedience or hitting back at government authorities. In many rural communities in Trinidad it is becoming institutional practice that protest action against the state is a legitimate response to perceived or real state neglect. Acts such as the burning of debris-tires, fallen trees and household refuse are common place. In addition, protestors often use old household appliance and cars to make roads impassable to human and vehicular traffic.

Conversely, members of the middle and upper houses for sale istanbul  classes commit crimes viewed as largely invisible. These crimes are usually carried out in the course of their daily work routines. For instance, police have obtained knowledge of financial and white collar crime but often cannot prosecute on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

The notion that the law may be selectively enforced has provided some rationale for the perpetration of crimes of the rich and powerful. They have the economic and political resources to bargain their way out of sentencing. A lot more empirical research needs to go into this area so that confirmation of this can be acquired by sound justification. There are some felons who remain incarcerated for white collar crime such as fraud (conversion of other people’s money and the use of illegal checks).


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