Recent research has indirectly shown that a conservative approach to crime and punishment may actually increase violent crime rates. Liberals and conservatives pretty much disagree on all aspects of politics, and the approach they take on crime and punishment is no different. The reason for this stems from their contrasting views on the cause of criminal activity, the nature of moral values and their views on human nature as a whole. In general, liberals are usually strong advocates of a rehabilitative approach, whereas conservatives favour a more retributive style.
Violent Crime Research
So why can a tougher, more retributive approach lead to an increase in violence? Let’s start by taking a closer look at the findings from that piece of research.
Common sense would dictate that an area with more men would have higher levels of violence. However, that appears to be incorrect, according to a new piece of research that investigated how gender ratios affect crime rates in the United States. In the areas where men vastly outnumbered women, there were actually far lower rates of sexual crime and violent crime. Conversely, in areas where there were more women than men, the rates were far higher.
When there is an abundance of women, men start to embrace a slightly more promiscuous set of behaviours.
Researcher Ryan Schacht from the University of Utah explains that when women are in short supply, men perceive them as being a more valuable resource. This encourages men to act more dutifully to win and retain a female partner. Conversely, when there is an abundance of women, men are spoilt for choice and start to embrace a slightly more promiscuous set of behaviours. This brings them into more conflicts with other men and thus makes them more likely to commit sex-related crimes.
“Schacht’s findings are in line with ‘mating-market theory’,” explains David Buss from the University of Texas. Schacht’s results align with Buss’ own research, which showed that when women outnumber men, there are more short-term relationships, men become reluctant to commit to just one partner and thus divorce rates increase.
Gender Ratio Disparity
The altering of gender ratios is arguably most prevalent in African-American communities. Within these communities, high levels of imprisonment and male mortality lead to vastly unequal sex ratios. Conversely, the vast majority of white communities have a roughly equal gender ratio.
Sex ratios are obviously not the only factor at play when it comes to the level of sexual and violent crime. Nonetheless, this latest piece of research indicates that a conservative approach, which tends to favour imprisonment as the primary method of punishment, may be unwittingly altering gender ratios; thus, potentially increasing the violent crime rate within our communities.