Crime and Violence need an Analysis
One of the most urgent development issues in the world which affects all levels of society is the issue of crime and violence. These phenomenon are not new but have increased dramatically in recent decades and are now recognized as serious economic and social problems, particularly in urban areas.
In 2000, an estimated 1.6 million people worldwide lost their lives due to violence - a rate of nearly 28.8 per 100,000. About half were suicides, one third was homicides and one fifth was causalities of armed conflicts. However these overall rates conceal wide variations. For example there are large differences in rates among the regions. In Africa and the regions of the Americas, homicide rates are nearly three times greater than suicide rates. However, in South East Asia and Europe, suicide rates are more than the double the homicide rates, and in the Western Pacific Region suicide rates are nearly six times greater than homicide rates. Figures for violent death, however only tell part of the story, physical, sexual and psychological abuse occur in every country on a daily basis, undermining the health and well being of many millions of people .In addition to costing nations vast sums each year in health care, legal costs, absenteeism from work and lost productivity (as per WHO Report 2004). Worldwide, gender disaggregated data shows that males are the most affected by violence both as victims and perpetrators. Data also revealed that males between the ages of 15-29 are disproportionately affected by violence. Violence against women affects a significant percentage of women and girls in the world as well. Around 48% of adolescent girls’ sexual initiation was “forced” or “somewhat forced” across the world. Women between 16-24 years of age are consistently reported as the group most at risk of abused by intimate partners.
Crime and Violence are distinct, but they are interrelated problems that can be interpreted by an individuals or groups. Crime is behavior either by an act or omission, defined by statutory or common laws as deserving of punishments. Although most crimes require the element of intent, certain minor crimes may be committed on the basis of strict liability even if the person committing crime had no specific mind set with regard to the criminal action. For example parking violations are crimes that usually do not require prosecutors to establish intent. Some crimes are considered mala prohibita (bad because prohibited); these are prohibited by statute but are not inherently evil. Other crimes are considered mala in se (bad in themselves); these are considered inherently evil under general community standards. The idea of mala in se formed the original justifications for common law crimes. However many crimes that are prohibited by statute also fall into the category of mala in se.
Violence is understood differently in different countries and among different cultures. While no universally accepted definition of violence exists, we are only following the definition put forth in the World Report on violence and health, launched by WHO. According to this violence is “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting injury, death, psychological harm, mala development or deprivation”. Violence can be grouped into different categories based on variables, such as agents of violence (example: gangs, youth, collective groups), victims of violence (women, children, marginalized groups), the relationship between aggressor and victim (e.g., interpersonal, non-related), perceived causality (e.g. psychopathological, situational, learned) and types of harm (e.g. physical, psychological, sexual).
Violence can also be many types like self-directed violence, interpersonal violence, collective violence, these all have extensive, long term effects on development as well as health effects are multilayered and can, therefore undermine development at the individual, community or national levels.
Crime and Violence affects all levels of society- women and men, young and old, rich and poor. Rapid urbanization, persistent poverty and inequality, political violence, post-conflict cultures, the more organized nature of crime, the emergence of illegal drugs use and drugs trafficking, unemployment, large scale migration to urban areas, a weak education system, ineffective policing , availability of weapons and organized and tech savvy gangs, are often cited as root causes of this increase.
Economic costs of Crime and Violence are very high. About 60 countries over the last ten years, has significantly and directly reduced their economic growth and development. It has hampered poverty reduction efforts and limited progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. Out of those 60 countries, about half has experienced violent conflict or are in post-conflict transition. The other half has experienced high levels of violent crimes, street violence, domestic violence and other kind of common violence. Common violence often increases significantly in post-conflict countries after a large scale politically motivated violence ends. Such cases include Somalia, Liberia, Guatemala and El Salvador, conversely countries having high levels of common violence have shown tendencies towards sporadic large-scale instability and acute poverty. This common violence, as opposed to politically motivated violence occurs as a result of social conflict unrelated to political motives or events (such as war, genocide and assassinations). It is often, though not always, related to personal and property crimes, particularly in urban area. This is well documented in Latin America but also wide spread in Africa and in large urban centers in Asia.
Besides Economic Costs, the other costs involved in it are: Direct and Indirect Costs, Non Monetary Costs, Economic Multiplier Effects and Social Multiplier Effects. Direct Costs can be directly attributed to a violent events or a series of events as in war. This can be, in principle counted using conventional accounting methods. Direct Costs measures the value of goods and services spent dealing with the effects of and /or preventing crime and violence, and of limited public and private resources spent on the criminal justice system, incarceration, medical services, housing and social services. Indirect Cost includes lost investment opportunities, and unrealized earnings of criminals and victims of crime and violence. Non Monetary Costs measures the effects on the victims of crime and violence, and are evaluated by taking into considerations: first increased morbidity (disasters resulting from violence like disability, mental injuries), second increased morality via homicide and suicide, third alcohol and drug abuse, last but not least depressive disorder. Economic Multiplier Effects measures the overall impact that crime and violence have on a country and its labour market, such as erosion of the tourism industry in country due to high insecurity level. In addition multiplier effects imply intergenerational productivity impacts. For example, victims of domestic violence have higher rates of absenteeism at work, are more likely to be fired from their jobs and earn less income over time. Social Multiplier Effect measures the impact of Crime and Violence in such areas as the erosion of social assets (social assets are used to describe supporting networks of relationships within and between communities together with the level of effectiveness of community organization), intergenerational transfer of violence; reduction in quality of life; effects on citizenship; and decrease in public confidence and the functioning of the democratic process, government and its institution.
There are two existing approaches for solving Crime and Violence; these are Repressive Approach and Preventive Approach. Repressive Approach is the traditional method also known as crime control or crime reduction approach) focuses on addressing the problem after the crime or violent act has been committed. It is usually related to toughening up the legal and justice system, increasing policing resources and capacities, and introducing harsher penalties in an effort to deter and repress crime and violence. According to this approach the responsibility is of the State (governing authorities, the police and/or the courts).
Preventive Approach is the second and complementary approach, the basic premise of this response is to stop the crime or violence act from occurring in the first place by understanding and addressing the root causes of the crime and violence and the risk factor associated with them, as well as constructing safer communities by building on their strengths, rather than focusing exclusively on a community’s problems. The prevention should be seen as a more cost-effective option than repression. Prevention capabilities can be shared by both citizen and state actors in a coordinated way.
In the conclusion I would like to promote few more solutions to overcome the problems of Crime and Violence these are; Building community resilience (“the process of, capacity for, or outcome of successful adaptation, despite challenging or threatening circumstances” or “health despite adversity”) by establishing strong social ties to each other, willingness to share the burden of education for crime prevention, etc. Protective factor is another way, which can potentially decreases the likelihood that an individual will engage in violent behavior. For instance, child abuse or neglect is a risk factor, parenting warmth and caring is a protective factor or asset. Community policing can also be a potent method of solving the above problems. It recognizes that the police alone cannot maintain public order and therefore, needs the support of the population and hence form an associations between the police and the community to resolve the problems.
Mrs. Nidhi Soni (Research Scholar (Economics))
Mr. Prashant Singh (Assistant Commandant (CRPF)