Is Crime a Real Threat to You?
Have you ever been mugged, or do you know someone who has?
Are you afraid to go out on the streets once the sun has set? Or if you do, do you take precautions?
Do you avoid taking the subway or public transport at certain times of the day? If you have young children, do you warn them about talking to strangers?
Are you worried that your children might be attacked at school?
Do you have more than one lock on your door? Do you have a burglar alarm or a special locking device on your car? Do you lock your bicycle if you park it out on the street?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you perceive crime as a real threat to you.
IN RECENT years people have become more aware of crime. Why? Because it has affected their neighborhood, their friends, their family, themselves. As The New York Times headlined it, “Fear of Crime Is Now Woven Into the Fabric of City Lives.” The article went on to say: “For New York City residents, wealthy as well as poor, crime is no longer something that happens to other people. It pervades the city, and it has forced changes—some subtle, some dramatic—in the way people live their lives.” And that applies not only to New York but to many other cities around the world.
Crime—A World “Growth Industry”
INDIA: Crime is by no means just an American problem. It is a world plague. For example, the magazine India Today spoke of the northern state of Bihar as a “Kidnappers’ Kingdom.” Said a brother of one kidnapping victim: “There is total terror. We have stopped coming out of our houses after sundown. We live under constant fear.” Another press headline was, “Organized Crime a Growth Industry in India.”
ITALY: Italy has its crime problems too—and not just with the Mafia. There is also “the Camorra, a criminal empire founded over a century ago along the lines of the Sicilian Mafia, a state within a state,” according to The Washington Post. This criminal society “is believed to have been responsible for nearly 1,000 murders over the past three years,” says the same source.
JAPAN: Crime is a cause for concern in Japanese society. One paper recently reported that Japan has 2,330 crime groups known to the police, with a total of nearly 100,000 gangsters.
CHINA: The government has taken drastic measures in an effort to cut back on its own “mounting crime problem,” according to the Far Eastern Economic Review. Murderers and rapists are sometimes executed publicly, and other criminals are paraded through the streets with placards hanging from their necks announcing their names and their crimes.
BRAZIL: A poll taken in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro indicates that 65 percent of the population deliberately avoid areas known to be dangerous; 85 percent no longer wear jewels or carry valuables when they leave home. Over 90 percent of those polled believe they could be attacked at any time.
NIGERIA: Crime is also a part of life in African countries. Writing in the New Nigerian, correspondent A. Adamu explained: “Burglary, armed-robbery, arson, murder and mayhem, the hideous cruelty with which these are carried out in this country today leave one dumb-struck and at a loss for how best to describe the state of terror and frenzy crime has created on the popular mind.”
The truth is, fear of crime stalks most major cities. This widespread perception of crime inhibits the law-abiding segment of society. And people are tired of being intimidated and of having inadequate protection. So when a citizen strikes back against the criminals, he receives an initial ground swell of sympathy.
But why do so many people turn to crime? Could it be that, contrary to the old saying, crime does indeed pay?