Sample Paper on Relationship Between unemployment and Crime

Relationship Between unemployment and Crime


In the discourse about the relationship between crime and unemployment, two basic schools of thought have existed. One argues that crime increases due to increase in unemployment rate through the increased supply of offenders while the other school argues that increased unemployment rates increases the supply of crime victims (Melick, 2003). Either way, it is clear that crime is related in some way to the unemployment rates in any given country or jurisdiction. For the first argument, proponents opine that unemployment results in a need to maintain the previous status quo amongst those who have lost their employment hence they tend to find other ways of meeting their needs. They thus turn to crime (Melick, 2003). On the other hand, in situations of unemployment, there is less merchandise to be stolen; the potential offenders thus widen their victim base to obtain all they need.

Problem Statement

The relationship between unemployment and crime is one of a complex nature as it is difficult to foretell exactly what the impact of one is on another. With arguments that unemployment results in crime, there is a portrayal of this relationship as being one sided with unemployment always being the cause and crime being the effect. This is a problem in that it is difficult to determine whether only the unemployment rate affects crime levels or there are other factors.

It is hypothesized that besides the unemployment rates, other factors such as educational level and inflation rates also affect the crime rates in a given geographical region.

Model Formation

In carrying out this study, a qualitative method will be applied to find the relationship between crime and unemployment. This method is suitable as it provides accurate empirical data that can aid in decision making and in drawing conclusions (Labaree, 2013). The model for analysis will be based on Regression analysis which depicts the relationship between one variable and another. In this model, the dependent variable is depicted as a function of the independent variable (Merriam, 2009). The linear model will be as represented in the equation below, with y being the dependent variable and x being the dependent variable:

Y= aX + b       (Linear Regression model for the study)

Data Collection and Analysis

The data for this study will be collected from various secondary sources which describe the country’s annual unemployment rates as well as crime levels. In this data, the unemployment rates will be the independent variable, which is represented by X in the regression model, while crime levels will be the dependent variable represented by y in the regression model. This data will be collected in a time series method, whereby 2-3 years will be picked for the analysis. The data for each year will then be collected and used to construct a linear chart that gives the values of the unknown variables a and b. In a linear chart, a will be the slope of the line while b will be intersection of the y axis. The data is to be collected from world fact books and country economic reports. These sources have been selected due to their reliability. Besides unemployment, inflation levels, and educational levels may also contribute to crime. However, these other potential independent variables are not discussed in this paper.

The major assumptions in using this type of data is that the data is accurate and collected in consideration of all economic factors, and that it represents the overall economic status of the country. One key limitation of the data to be collected is that it may not be a complete data set due to the failures of systems at the time of primary collection. For instance, the reliance on police records for crime data makes it impossible to account for the unreported crimes


Labaree, R. (2013). Qualitative methods: Organizing your Social Sciences Research Paper. University of Southern California.

Melick, M. (2003). “The Relationship between Crime and Unemployment,” The Park Place Economist: Vol. 11. Available at:

Merriam, S.B. (2009). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.