Ominous Signs: How Unemployment Feeds Crime

Ominous Signs: How Unemployment Feeds Crime
There is no country in the world, developed or developing, without the plague called crime. Since it tainted civilization, this characteristic has been passed on from generation to generation as a treasured family legacy.

The question of how much of it exists, on the other hand, has long been a cause of considerable disagreements. Understanding the amount of crime at any one moment is critical for enforcement agencies, lawmakers, and other political officials. The ability to quantify crime enables the establishment to analyze crime statistics. Those well-versed with crime statistics can calibrate their contrivance with such trends and compare their statistics on a local level.

Crime may range from robbery, burglary, kidnapping and murder to rape and sexual assault. One thing that remains common in all these is the fear that makes its way into the hearts of the citizens of a country.

As reported by the FBI, the number of hate crime offenses in 2000 (pre-9/11) was 28, which increased drastically to 481 in 2001. In 2001, approximately 17.7 percent of single-bias hate crimes were of religious prejudice. 26.2 percent of them were targeted due to intolerance against the Islam.

The development of a country has a direct relation to its crime rate. Although it is not the only determinant, it does dominate the regress. In the Human Development Index 2020, Norway, Ireland and Switzerland are the top three countries that are given the title of highly-developed countries with 31, 38 and 42 cases of intentional homicides in 2019. Chad, Central African Republic and Niger are at the bottom of this list with 1430, 1009 and 1244 cases of intentional homicides in a year. Pakistan at the 154th position has unusually high intentional homicides -- that reached up to 13,000. Germany is ranked 6th in the development index yet there were 769 intentional homicides registered in 2019.

There has been an alarming increase in criminal activities in the past few years throughout the world. Pakistan is teeming with narcotics trafficking, political instability, domestic terrorism, mafias, income inequality, and extremist groups. Some dominant factors that influence the increase in crime rate are unemployment, inflation, and lack of education, poverty and urbanization. It is indirectly affected by a number of factors all of which are common in Pakistan which includes nepotism, lack of recreational activities and drug abuse.

The crime rate from 2010-20 increased from 642,762 to 876,430 -- which is a 36 percent increase in crime as accompanied by a 33 percent increase in population. According to the official statistics, the crime rate of Pakistan in 2001 included a total of 8,906 murders, which reached its all-time high in 2013 with 13,937 murders. It reduced to 8,490 in 2020. Kidnapping cases registered in 2001 were 7,126 as opposed to 19,658 in 2020. Robbery cases have seen an alarming increase, due to the lack of government interest, from 7,513 to 19,904. There were 6,618 reported cases of cattle theft in 2001, and it escalated to 8,649 in 2020.

Data collected by the Gender Crime Cell (GCC) of National Police Bureau (NPB) records 25,935 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) reported in the country in 2020 as compared to 28,095 reported cases in 2019. The trend analysis shows that there is a slight decline in crime cases of GBV in 2020 (48 percent) compared to 2019 (52 percent).

Punjab and KP experience the highest number of crimes with values in six digits. From 2006-2019, numbers of reported crimes in Punjab increased from 342,149 to 490,313 which show a 43 percent increase. As opposed to Sindh, KP, Balochistan and Islamabad that show a 56 percent, -20 percent, 23 percent and 129 percent change respectively.

The unemployment rate of Pakistan in 2006 was 0.58 which increased almost six times to 3.542 in 2019. It is an increase of 510 percent and it is not even the highest unemployment rate reached by Pakistan. Pakistan’s highest unemployment rate was reached in 2018 which was 4.08.

Both crime rate and unemployment show a direct relationship. There has been a gradual increase in unemployment just as there has been in crime rate. The only difference is that unemployment is not the only factor that affects the crime rate -- so it tends to fluctuate against that direct relationship. Moreover, the data plotted is of every type of crime reported while studies show that it is more likely when a person becomes unemployed that they cease to be a contributing member of the economy. If someone is unable to find a job they will shift towards criminal activities. The primary motive in a crime would be financial gain which usually includes property crime, theft and blackmailing. An unemployed person doesn’t necessarily shift towards violent crimes.

Although income inequality is one of the major issues that Pakistan faces, GDP per capita gives us a basic view of the standard of living (SOL) of its inhabitants. It not only has a negative relation with the crime rate but also with the unemployment rate.

To reduce the rate of criminal offences, the government and policy makers should take steps to address the issues that fuel the rate of crime. Politicians, for example, should focus on economic development rather than crime-fighting methods, such as conviction and jail time. However, it is a temporary solution to a constant problem.

The state has a crucial influence in lowering the rate of unemployment. Qualified individuals should be actively involved in income-generating ventures that will keep them busy while also providing for them. Employees' salary should be enticing so that they are not forced to engage in criminal activities such as the sale of harmful substances or taking bribes. To address unemployment, the government should prioritize economic growth. When the economy expands at a rapid pace, it immediately corresponds to an increase in work opportunities.