During periods of economic recession and unemployment, poverty and crime rates tend to increase. When the economy is down, it seems logical that unemployed people can get more motivated to commit crimes involving theft, but this theory is disputed among social scientists. People living in extreme poverty who lack basic necessities such as food can see in crime the only alternative for their survival.
Higher crime rates can appear in regions with high levels of illegal drugs and alcohol consumption. This trend is also observed in regions where illegal drugs are widely cultivated and traded. The rising production and trade of cocaine in Colombia, for instance, is the most important factor to explain the increase of crime rates in that country in the last few decades. According to an article published in The Guardian newspaper, drugs and alcohol abuse are the cause for most crimes perpetrated by mentally ill people, contrary to the mental disease itself.
Despite of some improvement in law and order, crime remained a major problem through the end of the 1980s. Police attributed the country’s chronic crime problems to a variety of social and cultural factors. Widespread poverty and rapid population growth were frequently cited. Population pressures and a shortage of land and jobs in rural areas had produced a steady internal migration to the cities. This urbanization of a traditionally agrarian society was commonly mentioned as cause for increased crime rates.
Crime is as old as mankind itself. Since the biblical crime at the Garden of Eden, societies have emerged, laws have been created, and prohibitions have been declared but violations of forbiddances have continued. Crime has been with us from the very beginning; it has never ceased to disturb men’s living together. Moreover, it has become a common societal phenomenon, viewed by some as a normal symptom, as if it was a functional component of the organization of human groupings (Schafer, 1976).
The study on crimes has generated a substantial volume of literature. Since the path-breaking work of Becker (1968) nearly thirty five years ago, the economics profession has analyzed the determinants of criminal behavior from both the theoretical and the empirical points of view. Theoretical and empirical researches have provided a richer understanding of the crime once primarily viewed through the lenses of sociologists like Emile Durkhiem and Max Weber. Much has been learned about this critical topic; however many questions remain unanswered.
The Philippines, being a developing country, is not exempted from occurrences of crimes. Newspapers and television news updates are loaded with all sorts of “misbehavior”: murder, rape, theft, robbery and others. For this study, the author classifies crimes into three: crimes against property (e.g. theft), crimes against person (e.g. murder), and rape. Though the latter could be considered crime against person, it was decided that it should be separated from the rest because it is believed that it has different influencing factor.