Saturday, October 08, 2005

Crimminally Poor

Tonight, Bill Maher talked to Ann Coulter, author of such conversation-elevating books like How To Talk To a Liberal (If You Must) and Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism. She said a lot of crazy things but the one that really stuck out for me is when she said crime and poverty were unrelated.

Few variables better correlate with crime; the research I've done on this matter suggests that poverty explains about 20% of the crime rate. Poverty was my best predictor (also checked execution laws, unemployment and education).

The two certainly makes sense; poor people have less to lose (for the case of robberies) and more to escape from (for the case of drug "crimes"). Some of them even have loads of free time. You could probably make the case that there's a confounding variable that's causing them both, but such are hard to come by. Both factors are pretty fundamental. Besides, that doesn't mean they are unrelated. A simple regression shows there's some kind of connection between the two, even in the unlikely event that it's an indirect relation.

I guess acknowledging a role of poverty bars Coulter from directly blaming yet another one of societies ills on liberals.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

People who have nothing to loose tend to act like it. I wonder if you did a similar study on a relationship between poverty and terrorism would you get similar results? How about one with economic prosperity (and lack of it) since it contributes to the number people being poor? Did you investigate the types of crimes commited apart from robbery and drug use? Do the numbers hold for murder for example? Did you include crimes you need lots of money to commit in the first place like insider trading or embellezment?

Some things to keep in mind about Coutler, even people she calls friend think she's a bitch. She also thinks protesting the war helps the terrorists more than her little "we need to convert them to Christianity" comment. I suspect more people joined the terrorists over her threat than a greiving mother.

Jason

Anonymous said...

You've personally done the research... for an undergraduate stats class! Obviously your research and Coulter's are of the same caliber. Ass.

David said...

I didn't investigate any of the ways crime can be broken down; I merely took the aggregate data. I was wonder what the numbers would look like if I had, however.

As for the second commentor, I understand your frustration considering I've talked to people that try to cite their work as the sole justification of their assertion. Just to be clear, I do not think that about my work, nor did I mean to imply that I did. My results were typical with my fellow classmates, which were similar to past classes, which were similar to such research done all over the country.

So no, I don't think my research and Coulter's are "of the same caliber;" she being a lawyer, I'd be surpised if Ms. Coulter even knows what Minitab is.

penxv said...

Poverty and crime are certainly correlated, but not causative.

- Drug abuse, lack of education, and dependence on government also correlate with poverty; but they are symptoms of culture not causes of poverty. Poverty itself is also a symptom of an obsolete and harmful culture.
- The problem is cultural. Drug abuse, out of wedlock children, violent crimes, welfare, yada yada are all socially acceptable in certain circles.
- It is hard for a person of intelligence to leave everything tht he knows in order to be productive. The cultural barriers turn potential producers into the most efficient parasites.

Bear said...

Penxv has hit the nail on the head, though, the use of the phrase "cultural barriers" seems to excuse crime because it is part of the "culture" of the poor.
Politically correct society today, too often excuses anti-social behavior. It is not society's job to end the culture of crime, but it is the job of parents to raise their children with a respect for the rights and property of others. A culture that respects a wealthy drug dealer more than a child of poverty who has managed to crawl out of their lowly beginnings through hard work, is doomed to remain in poverty.

penxv said...

I'm not making excuses for anyone.