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Exposure to property crime as a consequence of poverty
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2006 (English)In: Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention, ISSN 1404-3858, Vol. 7, no 1, 45-60 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates whether and why the poor are more exposed to property crime than are the non-poor, despite the reasonable assumption that poor people lack or have little valuable property that can be stolen. If poor people are more exposed to property crime than those who are not poor, there are needs for explanations. The paper investigates two plausible reasons: the significance of the neighbourhood character and routine activities. The results in the paper indicates that poor people are more exposed to property crimes related to the residence, independent of neighbourhood character and routine activities, while exposure to property crimes related to vehicles depends more on the family situation and age than on poverty per se. When it comes to other kinds of property crime, poor people do not seem to be more exposed than do the nonpoor. That poor people are more exposed to property crime related to their residence, and that there are problem areas explaining why, is worrisome. Those who are poor are often vulnerable to other social problems that tend to exclude them from ordinary living patterns. To find out the relation between poverty and exposure to property crimes related to residence is of importance for crime prevention and probably an important step to prevent those who are poor from being further excluded from society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basingstoke: Taylor & Francis , 2006. Vol. 7, no 1, 45-60 p.
Keyword [en]
Opportunity-based theory, Poverty, Property crimes, Social disorganization, Victimization
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-13581DOI: 10.1080/14043850500342009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-13581DiVA: diva2:153252
Available from: 2008-05-23 Created: 2008-05-23 Last updated: 2011-08-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Exposure to crime as a consequence of poverty: five investigations about relative deprivation, poverty and exposure to crime
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exposure to crime as a consequence of poverty: five investigations about relative deprivation, poverty and exposure to crime
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis contains five studies that in different ways investigate poverty and the relation between poverty and exposure to crime. The basis of the thesis has been the question of how poverty is related to other welfare problems such as unemployment and health problems, focusing on exposure to crime and fear of crime. The thesis also has a comparative element. In one article, the conditions in Britain, Finland and Sweden are compared, and two articles compare conditions in Britain and Sweden.

Poverty has been measured as relative deprivation. This is done by measuring consumption of socially perceived necessities, both goods and activities. For poverty to be at hand, not consuming some of the goods or not engaging in some of the activities must be a consequence of lack of economic resources, not of personal preference. The relation between poverty and exposure to crime has been understood from an interactionist perspective, where the possible interaction between and intersection of potential offender and potential victim constitute the determinant factor for the risk of being exposed to crime. In this perspective, the poor are more exposed because their situation of being poor places them in situations where the risks of being exposed are high. Fear of crime stems from different sources. The significance of earlier victimization, the characteristics of the geographical unit where one lives and vulnerability in the event of actual exposure have been investigated.

It was found that poverty measured as relative deprivation is related to other welfare problems, primarily other economic problems, unemployment, health impairments, anxiety, sleeping problems and headaches. But it was also found that poverty is related to exposure to crime and fear of crime. Furthermore, poverty based on an income measure did not correlate especially well with other welfare problems. It was also found that the extent of poverty measured as relative deprivation is equal in Britain and Sweden, while it is more extensive in Finland. This result contradicts earlier studies based on income measurements of poverty, which show that poverty is about equally common in Sweden and Finland and more extensive in Britain. It was found that the reason why relative deprivation is more extensive in Finland is that the level of unemployment is higher there and that the unemployed are worse off in Finland than in Britain and Sweden.

Regarding the relation between poverty and exposure to property crime, it was found that the poor are more exposed than are the non-poor with regard to the property crime that violates personal integrity most: property crime related to the residence. Exposure to crime was found to be more of a poverty problem in Sweden than in Britain. Because crime rates are about equal in Britain and Sweden, the result indicates that the risk of being exposed to crime in Britain is more equally distributed across the population. Furthermore, it was found that fear of crime in Sweden is related to poverty, while fear of crime in Britain is more related to vulnerability in general, particularly vulnerability on the labour market. One reason for this may be that fear of crime is more common in Britain than in Sweden. Fear of crime may be such a general problem in Britain that the poor cannot be differentiated from the non-poor.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Sociologi, 2006. 208 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 47
Keyword
poverty, exposure to crime, fear of crime, welfare problems, Sweden, Britain
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-832 (URN)91-7264-119-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-10-06, hörsal g, humanishuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-08-25 Created: 2006-08-25 Last updated: 2017-04-03Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, Daniel

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