- Stephen JonesStephen JonesHonorary Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Bristol
This chapter discusses the common and understandable belief that poverty can be a significant factor underlying offending. It considers first the research evidence connecting crime with poverty and unemployment, and then takes a wider view of the ways in which the structuring of society can create pressures on individuals to break the law. From the earliest times, people have sought to equate crime with poverty. If this belief is correct, there should be more crime in areas where more poor people live and at times when overall levels of poverty are higher. It was not until the development of national crime statistics in the nineteenth century that any evaluation could be made of this widely held view.