Merseyside police have recently stated that lowering the poverty rate within the UK could cut crime the rate.
Their belief stems from the fact that a lot of black market activity goes on in the UK economy. Plenty make money from the underground economy through the buying and selling of illicit substances or illegal activities.
Because of this, the police force believes that crime and poverty are somewhat linked as individuals in financially unstable situations go to further extremes to be secure.
This philosophy is also supported by many race equality organisations as well as civil societies, who have been pushing for a decrease in poverty rates rather than an increase in police funding in order to solve crime figures in the UK.
This is because poorer households tend to not have the cash or time necessary to send their children to do extracurricular activities or to embark upon higher education as their opportunities have decreased.
For some, this lack of opportunity means they turn to extremes in an effort to achieve financial security.
The poverty rate in the UK has been increasing over recent years as food bank usage has risen significantly to the point where many individuals simply cannot make ends meet with their current levels of disposable income.
These individuals who do not have the job necessary to support themselves also have a negative effect on their local economy. A high unemployment rate within a city reduces spending, because of this, a negative multiplier effect is created as businesses cut back on investment as they are no longer making as much from selling their goods and services.
Consequently, governments gain less money from taxation sources such as VAT, thus forcing them to cut back on spending as their budgets have been reduced.
This amplifies the problem even more, if businesses are making less revenue, they may be forced to cut back on workers, which further reduces consumer spending as fewer individuals in the local economy have disposable income, causing this domino effect to spiral out of control.
And, if the correlation between crime and poverty is true, then this will lead to a higher crime rate within said region.
An increase in the crime rate will also have severe effects on the residents of the region. The negative externalities associated with such activities can lead to people being affected by crime or being victims of crime having reduced wellbeing, meaning services like therapy see an increase in demand.
And, because these services have a limited supply, the waiting times for them may increase and make them more scarce, thus leading to lower mental health for the residents of the region.
Additionally, a higher crime rate may cause more individuals to go down into committing crimes, for example, in London, knife crime is rampant.
This is because normal kids feel obliged to carry knives around to keep themselves safe from those who carry them with intent to do harm, thus resulting in a very scary domino effect.
So, to combat this increasing crime rate, the government may decide to increase spending on police services, which would be classed as regrettable spending.
However, data shows that this is not the case as government spending on police services has decreased by 16% between 2009/10 and 2018/19, according to a study done by the Institute for Government analysis of Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government.
These cuts in the police force have most likely attributed to worsening crime rates within the UK, especially within London.
It is very clear that cities like London have a very big issue with crime, especially among youths, and the local governments have to intervene to reduce it. Will they do this through establishing more youth centres to give more opportunities to young people or by increasing the police force? We don’t know, it depends on the winning candidate of the current London Mayor elections, however, the negative externalities associated with crime make it a massive problem for local economies, for this reason, we can only hope local governments will do as much as they can do decrease it.
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Written by Hubert Kucharski Research compiled by Jonas Theaker