Overpopulation and Crime – the connection

I had mentioned the connection between overpopulation and crime. When we talk of overpopulation, there are two aspects to it. Unchecked growth in urban population and growth in population overall. The latter fuels the former.

Over crowded cities cannot provide the infrastructure to an ever burgeoning urban population, and this creates a fight for scarce urban resources. There aren’t enough jobs available, and thus the temptation to crime is ever present. Worse, overpopulation creates a situation where there is no hope. There are lack of prospects because not everyone has access to a good education. There is a shortage of schools. The future looks bleak. Hopelessness and crime beckons.

Another thing. Large cities tend to become hotbeds of crime because of the anonymity they offer. Not just for the criminal, but between the citizens.  There would be less of an inclination to help a fellow citizen who is trouble. People do not want to get involved. Everyone is a stranger. People do not even know their neighbours.

And the greater the number of people, the greater the number of criminals.

…people with criminal tendencies can find other people with similar tendencies to provide social support for their criminality. In small towns there are simply not enough criminals or needy people to allow the criminogenic influence of criminal subcultures and ghettos to develop…Thus there is a clear correlation between city size and crime rate. Moreover,  there is no discernable plateau where the effect of city size on crime starts to level off. Since population growth results in all cities and towns becoming bigger, the increasing crime rate in many parts of the world can be explained by population increase.

Also large cities offer more opportunities for criminals. More banks to rob, more rich people, more cars to steal, more gullible people to con.

Coming round to the original point, about desperate people living in overcrowded cities – their basic needs are not being satisfied.  Maslow’s Need Hierarchy, explains it:

640px-MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds.svgHuman beings are driven by the lowest most unfulfilled need. People who live in crowded cities don’t just lack security, safety, and money. They often live without close family and friends. They may not have a feeling of belonging either to the city or any people around them. Worse, they have no elders to turn to, no mentors, no social structures to cling on to which can help if they stumble. The temptation to commit crime is the sword hanging over their heads. And they can fall right under it.

Related Reading: Poverty and Crime – the connection
Religion and Crime – the connection
Rich People and Crime – the connection
The real causes of Crime

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