Get a JobLabor Markets, Economic Opportunity, and Crime

Get a JobLabor Markets, Economic Opportunity, and Crime

Robert D. Crutchfield

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780814717073

Publisher: NYU Press


Are the unemployed more likely to commit crimes? Does having a job make one less likely to commit a crime? Criminologists have found that individuals who are marginalized from the labor market are more likely to commit crimes, and communities with more members who are marginal to the labor market have higher rates of crime. Yet, as this book explains, contrary to popular expectations, unemployment has been found to be an inconsistent predictor of either individual criminality or collective crime rates. The book offers a carefully nuanced understanding of the links among work, unemployment, and crime, and explains how people's positioning in the labor market affects their participation in all kinds of crimes, from violent acts to profit-motivated offenses such as theft and drug trafficking. The author draws on his first-hand knowledge of growing up in a poor, black neighborhood in Pittsburgh and later working on the streets as a parole officer, enabling him to develop a more complete understanding of how work and crime are related and both contribute to, and are a result of, social inequalities and disadvantage. The book tells a powerful story of one of the most troubling side effects of economic disparities in America.