The issue of crime in any community is always going to be one of the most important aspects of the social network that exists as a barrier to its overall success. Crime can be the result of many things, a symptom of larger problems that can be changed by community development, and it can also cause a lot of trouble that could otherwise be avoided. As such, it exists at the center of the overall spectrum of community health. In a profound sense, the state of crime in any area is going to be one the biggest indicators of the region’s economic prosperity, social development, and community stability or togetherness.
Many dynamic relationships in society can be seen as a two-way street, and while there may be a link between community health and crime, it may be difficult to tell which is the cause, and which is the effect. There are ways to shed light on these issues, and if the link exists, then finding the solution to these problems can be facilitated by the further understanding of these relationships.
Three major aspects of community health that may either contribute to or be the result of increased crime are poverty, a heightened differential in income (a wide gap between the low-income and high-income individuals in the population), and education or political involvement. Poverty is an obvious culprit in any community, especially where urban development is stunted, leaving the people with poor quality resources such as tainted water or dilapidated housing in a depressed market, as well as little or no access to decent, well-paying jobs. Depressed environments such as those produced under these conditions ultimately lead to a completely different type of social hierarchy and economy. Needs change along with what is valued and what is considered necessary. Under these conditions, different regions even within a single community, work directly with their surrounding neighbors to support one another, and when desperation turns to criminal action, people are more apt to commit acts of crime on those who are least connected to themselves. In other words, society degenerates to a less civilized, tribal, nature where war between regions becomes seen as necessity.
The wage gap in any community is going to create a sense of inequality that will ultimately lead to a portion of the low-income population acting either in defiance or out of desperation at the state of economic difference. This can lead to violent crimes, thefts and robbery, or vandalism. From the perspective of the local government, the city should be designed in a way that spreads the opportunity throughout, so that there is a balanced demand for workers with social capital. This brings down unemployment and should reduce crime. There is also research to show that proper housing, and a leveled playing field in housing markets brings down segregation of cultures, while poor housing systems increase segregation, leading to a state of civil discomfort. The third topic to be researched is the overall education level of the average member of the community, as well as the political involvement of the community as a whole. This does not necessarily mean the average citizen should be taking an active role in the political system, though it would not hurt for more people to volunteer their time and get involved. This increases the understanding of the system and builds an appreciation, but it is not wholly necessary. Education is not limited to a high school diploma or college degree, however these factors will be studied along with crime rates to assess the relationship, but education about city processes and social differences can only serve to create a better sense of community between polarized groups. A lack of education in any sense is just ignorance which leads to intolerance and eventually dissention, creating a state in which crime against the ‘opposition’ is seen as an act of valor.