AN ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF POVERTY ON CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR AMONG YOUTHS (A CASE OF AKPABUYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, NIGERIA)
This study aims at assessing the impact of poverty on criminal behaviours among youths in Cross River State. Research questions were formulated to guide and give direction to the study. Relevant and related literatures were reviewed, using the survey design, 150 respondents made up of adult men and women and youths were selected to participate in the study. The major instrument for data collection was questionnaire. Data collected was analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlative Coefficient and presented in simple % tables. The result revealed that poverty significantly influences criminal tendencies among youths. Most youths with low socio-economic background are easily lured into criminal activities. It was recommended that the government, non – governmental agencies and parastatals and the general public must embark on youth empowerment programs that would alleviate poverty at least to the barest minimum while enhancing their young minds and directing them towards better and rewarding activities.
Keywords: Youths, Poverty, Criminal Behaviours
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Explanations for crime have taken various dimensions according to different theorists and scholars. Some blame it on defective family structure or arrested personality adjustment. Others emphasize factors such as inequality, environmental influence, poor socialization process (Henslin,2006). In this regards, criminal acts may be induced by many unforeseen factors and circumstances. Crime, according to Taylor (2006) could be seen as a fault of the social system whose institutions do not work equally for all its members. Sociologists look at the social in which individuals find themselves. Could it be that the problem lay not with the individual but in the social condition under which the individual live? The concern here is why people should exhibit behavior that is in violation of established norms, violations that may ultimately result in their being labeled as criminal behavior in terms of social processes.
Mostly, persons known to commit street crimes as reported in the crime index are poor, uneducated, often unemployed and residents of low income neighbourhoods (Anasi, 2010). Would a socially and economically sound person turn out to be criminal? In this research work, there is need to understand the socio-economic background of most juvenile and criminals in order to draw correlations or otherwise between low socio-economic status (poverty) and criminal behaviour.
1.1 Objectives of the study
The objectives of this study include the following:
- To give an empirical analysis of the role of poverty on criminal behavior.
- To examine the circumstances that make youths participate in crime.
- To find out why crime participation is high in certain areas and among certain groups in the society.
- To identify some ways in which the society can be able to tackle the problem of crimes.