(ThySistas.com) While things have certainly not been perfect over these last couple of decades, we have been able to at least rejoice in the fact that violent crime has been decreasing sharply. Despite the increase of violence in entertainment, which many politicians and concerned parents were sure would encourage like behavior on the streets, it would seem that people are getting less violent.
But while violent crime continues to decrease in most places across the United States, there are several major cities that have seen a spike in violent crimes over the past couple of years. A study released earlier this year showed an increase in assault and even murder in places such as Minneapolis–Saint Paul and Chicago. The murder rate in the U.S. has actually, on the whole, been on a concomitant increase.
While the peaks we’re seeing now are eclipsed by the peaks of the nineties, suggesting a lot of improvement, we still need to think seriously about this new rise in crime. And we shouldn’t be underestimating the economic effect of this crime on our communities, either.
Fines, bail, and legal fees
Many people may see fines as relatively small But such fines don’t seem so small for those in poorer, more crime-ridden communities – and the people here are more likely to see such fines. There’s also bail to consider should someone be arrested, which can be an enormous financial strain on families. While some would argue that these costs are optional, the case of Kalief Browder has shown many people the dire potential costs of not paying bail.
Legal fees are another source of concern for families, as well as those directly accused of a crime. But ensuring a good criminal defense lawyer is hired is often (rightly) seen as utterly essential, as it can help reduce costs in many other ways. Still, there’s no denying that it’s another financial burden for the community.
Many make the argument that the poor are punished for being poor; that being poor is an expensive business. This comes largely from the fact that prices in many poor neighborhoods are actually much higher than you would find in affluent neighborhoods. This isn’t the result of some conspiracy; it’s the result of crime in that area.
Businesses residing in areas with a high crime rate charge more to help compensate for the fact that they’re in a more dangerous area. This isn’t just to make the owners feel better. Robberies and vandalism costs these businesses a lot of money, and they need to hike up their prices to help cover those costs. There’s also the much higher cost of insurance to consider – something that affects everyone in a given community.
Even having a misdemeanor on your record can prevent you from getting lucrative employment in the future. And with so many dubious charges ending up on criminal records, we need to ask ourselves whether this lifelong and often unspoken-of punishment is really warranted. Do we really want to prevent reformed criminals from gaining employment? This makes our economy suffer, and only encourages people back into lives of crime. Again, hiring a good lawyer can help prevent blemishes on a criminal record, which can help protect employment prospects.
Staff Writer; Shelia Jacobs