Self-Defense & Violence Prevention Blog

news and commentary about security, self-defense, and topics like violent crime prevention and bullying

Most Important Elements of Violent Crime Reduction

Today, I want to mention what I see as the most important elements of violent crime reduction.

Education – I have said before that I believe that most of the young, violent gangbangers on the streets would choose to give that life up to become an educated professional, such as a medical doctor, if they saw it as viable. I believe lack of education leads to habitual antisocial behavior including violent crime. In contrast, education gives people self-esteem and hopefulness. Education gives people skills, credentials, and good jobs, which means they have something to lose by engaging in violent crime.

Poverty Alleviation – Children raised in poverty have a notoriously higher tendency to engage in violent crime and other antisocial behavior. Poor people tend to commit violent crime more than more affluent people, and poorer neighborhoods tend to have higher crime rates. Reducing poverty will reduce violent crime. Additionally, to be non-poor, I believe a person needs complete healthcare coverage, which means that the person has access to any needed psychological or psychiatric care. By eliminating poverty and ensuring people have access to healthcare, people would get help for psychological problems when those problems may otherwise cause the person to commit violent crime.

Legalizing Victimless Crimes – Society wastes a lot of resources on non-violent, victimless crimes. Those resources could otherwise go towards preventing and stopping violent crime and victimization. For example, all the massive amounts of money and prison space put towards enforcing the prohibition on marijuana could instead be put towards preventing and stopping violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and battery.

What do you think? What else do you see as essential to violent crime reduction?

By | April 22nd, 2008 | SHOW COMMENTS (14)


I am the creator of this website, which I use to post about self-defense and violence prevention. I have two children who I love so much. I want them to be proud of me, and I hope what I do here contributes to that. Please let me know what you think about my posts by leaving a comment below. I throw my opinions around pretty openly here, but I am totally open to opposing viewpoints and a productive discussion. So please post a comment. And follow me on Twitter: @scottmhughes

14 Responses

  1. Jejak Petualang says

    It’s really true that those three elements are having great impacts for the crime doing.

  2. Val says


    The question of Prevention always comes after the act.

    A child when born is “a blank page upon which to write”

    The creative side of man brings progress which we enjoy take pleasure in, casting yesterdays progress away. But look at any creation and you will find the down side which is distructive.

    eg In making books we cut down trees = environmental issue.

    Producing heat the using of natural resources which took billions of years to create.

    The nature of man developed from evolution, stumbling towards perhaps the enlighted period = but that is only one man. Evolution = evolving.

  3. Air Jordans says

    You’re right Scott. I am on your side.

  4. Bhelle says

    I totally agree with you on all your points but it got me thinking, how about the corruption made by educated politicians, rape cases done my well educated persons?

  5. Francois Tremblay says

    Yea, I gotta agree that the comments against this entry make a lot of sense, but it’s also true that poverty is correlated with crime. But that’s not a statement against poor people, it’s a statement about the system.

  6. Scott says

    I definitely thank everyone for your comments and feedback. I appreciate it very much.

    Regarding education and poverty, I did not mean to imply that the uneducated and poor people cause more damage to society than the educated and wealthier people. I have a section on this blog about corporate crime. In it, I have said that crime by corporations and richer and more educated people cause more damage to society. But being educated is not what causes them to inflict the damage. It’s just that being rich and having socioeconomic power is correlated both with being able to get education and with causing systematic damage to society and the people in it. I would not expect anyone to deny that poverty causes people to have a higher tendency to engage in aggressively violent behavior. Additionally, getting an education causes a person to be less likely to commit violent acts of aggression such as murder, rape, battery and so forth.

    Regarding corporate crime, white-collar crime and state-sponsored violence, I think the first step to stop them is by empowering the oppressed. I see education and eradicating poverty as two of the most effective ways to start empowering the masses especially less privileged people.

    Regarding victimless crimes such as drugs, if a drug-user commits an act of criminal victimization (e.g. robbing someone to get funds to feed his addiction) then that act is not legalized by the legalizing of drugs. Legalizing a behavior does not legalize other behaviors done in association with it. One might argue that drugs cause problems in society in some way; regardless, criminalizing drugs just makes those problems worse, as I explained in my original 2006 post, Reduce [Violent] Crime by Repealing Drug Prohibition

    Dave, I agree with your idea of saying poverty eradication instead of poverty alleviation.

    Ashley Darby, I share your concern about making people go to school. Please note, when I talk about providing education, I am not talking about forcing people into schools. I mean that we need to improve the current schools and help people get education who want it. If you are looking for an especially anarchist approach to education, I recommend you research unschooling.

    Monika, I do not know how you can claim that poverty does not cause people to be more violent. I realize the so-called justice system is classist, sexist and racist. But it is still a fact that getting a person out of poverty decreases the likelihood that they will commit acts aggressive violence. Of the anti-poverty people with whom I have spoken, they frequently point out the fact that poverty is conducive to violence as one of the main reasons to eradicate poverty. Obviously, none of us want children growing up in these poor, violent neighborhoods. I’m not sure why, Monika, you say my post reeks of white, male, class privilege or why you seem to be calling me sexist and classist. I have to assume that you have misunderstood me or that I am misunderstanding you. Nonetheless, I will direct you to my post about patriarchy and my blog about poverty eradication.

    Again, thanks everyone for your comments! ­čÖé

  7. Monika says

    I work in the anti-violence field, and am an anarchist (anarcha-feminist to be exact). And I am blown away by how classist and subsequently inaccurate your analysis is.

    People suffering from poverty are not more violent than others. They are, however, criminalized through classist inJustice systems. Just as a Black man is more likely to be charged and convicted of a crime than a white man, someone who does not benefit from class privilege is more likely to be charged and convicted.

    This post reeks of white, male, class privilege.

  8. Artemis says

    Your comments Scott are not unreasonable, but nor are they particularly radical.
    I’m surpirsed that Dave thinks no anarchist would disagree that the rich commit more crimes than the poor. Unless you define crime it’s a quite meaningless statement. The less educated certainly commit more crimes (it’s not something to be agreed or disagreed with – it’s a fact). Yet rich capitalist (especially those with businesses in area with massive poverty) commit more legal ‘crimes against humanity’ But they do this because they can.
    You wouldn’t be an anarchist if you didn’t think that there should be no such thing as a victimless crime (ie we should be allowed to do what we want as long as no-one else is harmed).
    If heroin addicts steal or kill then that is wrong in anyone’s book, but taking the heroin, in an of itself, should be a matter for personal choice.

  9. Steve Lane says

    I agree with this argument on the surface, but what about the indirect consequences of drug trafficking? What about the addict that has to rob and steal (causing violence and victims in the process) in order to get the money to support his habit?

    Granted, it does seem to make sense to dedicate more resources to prevention of violent crimes, but I think it’s misleading to say that drug dealing does not lead to violent crime.

  10. Ashley Darby says

    Hhmm the whole thing about making people going to schools to become educated is it a bit non-anarchist. I think that it is not just un-educated people that commit a lot of crime, as a previous post said there are a lot of random hate crimes carried out by the lovely middle class. People that aren’t educated normally do things that are ‘anti-social’ such as smashing in windows or whatever, but i feel that a large amount of this is caused by the fact that some many other people are saying “your not educated, go get some” sort of thing. We lasted for a long time without any form of education whatsoever, but im not saying that there should no be one. Children could be sent to an education centre where they can be taught basic information, and later on choose wether they want to leave that school if they do not want to be a part of the education system – as long as they want to be put into a system of work or w/e.
    Um back to the other point about poverty = more crime is just the state making those people poor through capitalism etc etc. Finally amount the whole weed thing, if you wana smoke it, smoke it! Your choice really, the state shouldn’t stop you unless what your doing is going to harm other people. And before you say it does, look at drinking, driving etc etc

  11. B. Genetta says

    Violent crime would reduce if our country would stop using it to enforce its foreign policy.

  12. Figo says

    Well, I agree with Dave on this one, why should marihuana be legalized? Or better yet, how can an anarchist ask for the legalization o marihuana if it is that state that has to power to proclaim if it is o isn’t.

    Now about the violance and the anit-social behavoir, isn’t discorse and modern science an instrument of power of the elites, by marginalizing that wich isn’t “normal”, I haven’t got an answer of what to do with them, but I can say that we must indentify forms of power that are hidden in discorse and science, if you say anti-social are people who are wrong, difrent from the rest of us, then it is easy to say that homosexuales aren’t either, that indegounes are also difrent. I think it is of vital importance to see this, how power and coercion can and will continue in an anarchist society, we must reduce it and elimante what we can, well these are my 2 cents.

    Desde algun lugar de Mexico,
    ¡Tierra y libertad!
    ¡No a la militarizacion de las zonas zapatistas!
    ¡Libertad a los presos politicos de Oaxaca y Atenco!

  13. dave says

    You blew my mind with this one. Why is this being sent out to people on the Anarchism: Anarchist Ideals In Practice? Training gang bangers to be doctors is not what I would call a radical analysis. It is a quantifiable fact that the most educated people in this country commit the most crime. I doubt you could find an anarchist who would disagree with that statement, though it’s probably possible.

    The whole piece is a typical liberal complaint in analysis. “Poverty alleviation?” How about poverty eradication? It’s simple really: give the people back their land, labor, and resources and allow them to self-manage.

    Instead of “legalizing victimless crimes” how about disbanding any and all law-enforcement units, perhaps putting them through a radical deprogramming course and doing our best to make sure they are ok to re-enter society.

    I’m guessing you just wanted some feedback from some anarchists. So I hope that helps.


  14. Francois Tremblay says

    Well, what about violent crimes committed by rich, educated people?

    Like say… corporate crime in third-world countries?


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