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A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
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The Causes and Consequences of Crimes

Crime has always been a problem in societies across the world. People who break the law cause problems for society, and cause pain and hurt to the people that are affected by the crime. This is why laws were created centuries ago; to protect society, punish the criminal, and act as a deterrence.

The Causes of Crime

Unfortunately, despite the laws that the government has established over the years in the UK, people still commit crimes. The reasons for this are complex but include:

  • Poverty and unemployment: Some people are genuinely so poor that they can't afford to pay bills or provide food for their families or themselves. This causes them to enter a life of crime where they might get involved in stealing, or earning money by illegal means, such as drug dealing.
  • Upbringing: If someone is brought up in a broken home, it makes them more vulnerable to involvement in criminal activities. Someone who has been brought up in the care system - foster homes or orphanages - is six times more likely to offend according to a 2016 report led by Lord Laming. Also, if someone has been brought up in a family that is involved in criminal activity, then it is easy for them to fall into a life of crime. They will see this as normal.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse: Most drugs are illegal in the UK; just by using them people are committing a criminal offense. Additionally, people who have an addiction sometimes find themselves in a position where they can't afford to pay for the substance they need. This can lead to them stealing to feed their habit.
  • Peer pressure: In some cities, young people grow up in areas that are populated by gangs. The only way to survive in these areas is to join a gang. Often these gangs are involved in criminal activities, such as knife crime and drugs.
  • Politics: Having strong opinions about politics can lead to people committing criminal acts, such as hate speeches and terrorist activities,
  • Greed: Some people commit crimes simply because they want to have more money and possessions.


The Consequences of Crime

Crimes can have a huge impact on people and society. Some of the effects include:

  • It can hurt people physically and mentally, sometimes causing long-term mental health issues, for example, anxiety, depression, and fear of going out.
  • It can destabilise whole communities, creating fear amongst people in areas where there is a high rate of crime. It can also have an economic impact on people in these communities with, for example, house prices decreasing and businesses losing trade.
  • Damage to property.
  • A high cost to businesses; crime, such as shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime, costs businesses in the UK billions of pounds each year. Some never recover.
  • People can end up living in poverty because of crime. It could be that their business has closed due to fraud, or cyber criminal activity has resulted in their life savings being stolen.
  • A high cost to the government for policing, along with an additional burden on the NHS where violence is involved.