As with any societal change, the answer to stopping crime is all about incentive. Currently there are all kinds of incentives to commit crime. Whether it be a poor kid, who watches the same commercials as the rich kid, wanting a new starter jacket (remember those?) or an investment banker wanting to make a little more on a sale; the incentives are in place to take the unlawful route rather than the legal one. In simpler terms, it is easier to cheat or take than it is to just do the work and earn what it is that you want. But this is no revelation because it has always been easier to cheat or take than it is to earn. The difference in today’s day and age and specifically in areas of high crime is not that this issue does not exist, but that either getting caught is less likely or that the severity of the consequences is not understood.
The great philosopher Socrates is said to have stated that a courageous man is courageous not because of the bravery of his actions or the actions he takes at great risk, but because he fully understands the risks if things go bad and the consequences should all not turn out for the best; he understands all of this and still takes the brave action. Any man can take risks, imbeciles take as great of risks as heroes but the difference comes in the knowledge of the situation and what risks or consequences may lie ahead. Basically the point here is that odds are that a burglar is not going to break in and steal from a home if he knows that the home has an alarm linked to the local police department that will assuredly throw him or her in jail. The burglar just wants something to sell on the street and in his or her mind, the reward outweighs the risk, the blind confidence overpowers the lack of understanding of the situation. And this burglar feels this way because he has not been given a reason to think otherwise.
A fair amount has been said here in an attempt to build up to the answer to the question posed in this writing. The way to stop crime is to help criminals or more importantly the at risk youth to steer clear of going down this dark path. The help can come in school, however there are many kids out there that go to school everyday, and possibly even do quite well maybe to help fool their parents or guardians, only to go out and rob convenience stores or mug their schoolmates in the afternoons and evenings. So instead of just schooling, the first step to stopping crime is to get the kids off the streets. Rich kids don’t commit as much crime as poor kids not because of the money they have, but because of the eyes they have watching them after work or school.
Many of the criminals in the world are impoverished and it is a safe bet that the youth in this group go home after school to empty homes, either because of hard working parents or because those they are in the care of are delinquent themselves. Thinking about criminals does not paint a happy picture, but the issue isn’t something that the rest of the world has to pity or feel ashamed of. The problem can be helped by something as simple as giving people a place to go when they are done with school or work, and there is a good possibility that the problem can be resolved if once off of the street, those that are at risk for crime were taught about and shown the rest of the picture: the consequences or risks that could ensue should they choose to commit a crime.
And it would be incomplete, and honestly not more than a simple fantasy, if along with the safe haven and teachers, that these potential criminals did not feel that they had someone who cared whether they committed crime or not. Possibly the biggest factor in all of a person’s decisions, whether criminal or not, is the affect the action might have on the ones they love, and more importantly, the ones that love them.
So if a place can be provided for people to go, when their school or work is complete, with the right people inside to teach them about why it is better inside than out, and strong loving relationships can be built in people’s lives, then there is a real possibility that crime can be eliminated if not at least greatly reduced.