Why Does Crime Occur Featured Image PC Mark Knobil

Why Does Crime Occur?

Originally published December 29th, 2017.

Why does crime occur? Why are people driven to break the law? Why do entire segments of the human population feel the need to step on other humans in order to ‘get theirs’? Is the education system failing us?

“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”

Nelson Mandela

The only reasonable answer I can come up with is that people feel compelled to operate outside the boundaries of the law because they feel that the law has been made to create inequalities that don’t allow them a fair shot.

While it might be easy for the uber-privileged to eschew this argument as an uneducated class of people feeling sorry for themselves, crime is an alarming trend.

And when a significant mass of the population feels this way, it seems unlikely that millions of people should be simply written off as “uneducated” or “delusional”.

In some cases, the people resorting to crime in an effort to “get ahead” might fall into the category of being uneducated, but, again, what is the reason for this, especially in a country so economically and technologically privileged as our own?

I find it hard to accept the argument that resources are not enough to provide quality education for every young person in this country. Our resources are plenty. We simply decide to use them for other purposes while our education continues to spin wildly down the toilet.

Many of our nation’s problems stem from a need for total education reform. Crime rates are no different. They seem to be directly related to economic and social status and the fact that vast percentages of our population feel as if they haven’t been given a fair chance.

America was founded on the simple principle that every man, and woman, has the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” But true liberty is not available on an equal basis in this country.

Your right to life only goes so far as you’re willing to stay within the bounds of laws that sometimes feel unfair, unnecessary, and, often, downright discriminatory.

The pursuit of happiness is only possible if one is given the tools, the means, and the freedom to pursue whatever it is that makes the individual happy. I have a tough time believing that individuals forced to resort to crime do so because robbing, stealing, cheating, and killing makes them happy. They do so because they are driven by need, and in this country, that need is monetary.

The reality, for many people that choose to lead a life of crime, is that it pays better than your average 9-5 gig. It’s difficult to make ends meet, support a family, and achieve financial security when working within the boundaries we’ve been given.

Crime pays. It can be lucrative. And until that is no longer the case, it will continue to be an outlet for the disrespected and underprivileged populations of the world.

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

Ayn Rand


  1. Crime is a major problem in the world.

    I would like to know the thought process of criminals. I believe many of them would not have chosen that lifestyle but either their parents broke the law and they simply followed their footsteps or because of hardship in their lives that forced them to do something to make ends meet, which in turn led them further and further down the wrong road.

    1. Hey Justin! 

      I too think it would be interesting to get inside the “mind of a criminal.”

      What do you think of the larger societal constructs that place certain people in situations where they feel like crime may be their only option?

  2. I believe there’s always 2 sides to a coin and every situation. While there are definitely the bad eggs in society that are just want to cause trouble, not everyone that does crime is necessarily a bad or evil person. Sometimes, it is the circumstances that people are put into that forces them to do crime.

    I believe in many developing countries, poverty is the biggest reason why Crime still exists. If not, they wouldn’t be able to feed their family. My mentor like to use this very controversial example of 9/11. Think about the terrorists who did the bombing and why they did so. What if I told you that if they didn’t do it, their entire families would be killed or wiped out if they didn’t comply?

    As much as I would like to see crime eradicated, sometimes it’s because of the underlying problems that needs to be fixed first. And sometimes, it’s not as simple as the eye can see.

    1. Hey Terence! 

      I think you make a great point that there are certain underlying problems that need to be addressed in order to reduce crime. And yes, those underlying problems are not very often simple. 

      What are some examples of these underlying issues that you feel need to be addressed?

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