Structural Components of Crime What causes a change in crime rates? Are crime-rates most affected by expenditures on law enforcement? There is an impression among the voting public that crime is on the rise in the United States and, therefore, we need to spend more money for more police and more prisons. Perhaps crime rates are more influenced by structural features like performance of the economy or demographic changes (see Kornblum, 1988:207). Even if the voting public accepts the fact that crime rates have decreased, there is a tendency to view such declines as a result of increased public spending on law enforcement. Often, the drive for increased spending on crime prevention is related to political leaders, who have ties to larger spending programs in the criminal justice system. Below are some structural features that cause crime rates to fluctuate which have nothing to do with the criminal justice system.
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