Crime is described in the peoples' dictionary as an unlawful act that can be punished by law. Crime therefore in this abstract sense suggests people commit crime in order to break the law. It's an act against lawmakers. It has a clinical inhuman approach that doesn't address the person, but a criminal.
And there we have a criminal as less of a person and more of a clinical and mechanical entity without feeling like human. In some cases, criminal is associated with mental illness, a form of stigma.
In our reality, there are underlying reasons why people commit crime. And for those reasons, crime is a consequence.
Really, it should be stated that crime is an act in violation against values, or rules and laws of society. Society therefore would have protection for all individuals, properties and their social relations. Thus, an unlawful act against the individual or property is an act against society.
Since society is the collectivity of social relations between individuals and their property, it acts as a parent or guardian that protects. Society therefore does not set out to punish its own offspring, but rather correct, rehabilitate and restore social relations that have been broken by the unlawful act.
Society has regulated violence as unlawful, therefore it cannot be seen as using violence to punish its offspring. That would be hypocrite!
And you better believe it, the Police is not so much of a law enforcement personnel, but de-escalators and modifiers or specialists on social relations. They communicate with the public in a human level, not mechanical entities.
This may come a little too late as right-wing political parties and lobby groups have established themselves vigilantes to ensure those who commit unlawful acts against society are punished. They somehow rely on the police to carry out such punishments as contained in cells, reprimanded and imprisonment or fines.
Nonetheless inn our modern progressive world, we can begin to see crime and lawmakers in a different light.
The material economy is the cause. The structure of the economy is upheld by social relations. And these social relations are typical of colonised mentality that the upper echelons own wealth and resources while worker among consumers sell their labour skills for a wage. And the unequal organisation of the material economy accumulates wealth and resources at the rich end, and Poverty among crime at the other end. And society has sustained a permanent imbalance between the rich and poor.
The social relations for maintaining the above class structure is embedded in the colonised mentality of race discrimination against non-Europeans. Maori, Pasefika among Asians were disadvantaged because of their race, their language, their culture and family way of living.
They were discriminated from access to resources such as education, jobs, promotions, housing and health; they found themselves left behind in lower socio-economic sectors. With low or no income, their establishment in low maintenance housing and high health needs are desperate conditions of Poverty. And in attempting to make ends meet, crime is a consequence.
Vigilante groups promote social relations of punishment for crime to ensure the existent of a lower socio-economic class is static in Poverty. You know the right-wing party that promotes punishments for crime among other voluntary groups exist to maintain social relations of classes, to maintain the divide between the rich and poor.
It's a wonder why such a party has a rating in media polls when the Police published 'crime at glance Dec 2020' reported victimisation and other offences for the 12 months has decreased by 6.6%; theft by 10.1% and burglary by 14.6%. The only increase is assault by 12.4%, but it's due to the introduction of new and reclassification of offences. And this is a social psychological behaviour the underlying cause.
There is no evidence anywhere that increasing punishment for social and psychological behaviour helps reduce crime. God help us! To have a media promote an individual party is somewhat immoral when it should promote the whole country instead.
So, a crime committed by a poor person may be related in desperation to making ends meet, but a crime committed by someone from the upper echelons is making a profit, in an economic enterprise. Yet the media vigilantes only stigmatise the lower socio-economic sector and praise the white-collar criminal.
Notice also, the changing role of the Police. When a right-wing nationalist party is in office, vigilantes are funded to hype crime propaganda. The police are armed and come in as commando law enforcers. But when a social democratic government is in office, the Police are human relations officers who are call to maintain peace.
That effectively classifies the police force a seasonal service; under a right-wing nationalist government, police officers apply to lifestyle enforcers like reserve army, guards and combatant personnel. When a social democratic and progressive government is in office, police officers expect to be dealing with human beings on a social level.
From the above, we can sort crime into layers of the political, social psychological and economic categories.
For the lower socio-economic sector, punishment is clearly not justified and thus immoral. Where pre-existent conditions of colonisation, political and economic structure are equitable conditions, folks were disadvantaged by injustice and are owed redress.
These folks need help to catch up on what has deprived them in education, health and housing rather than punishment for pre-existing conditions beyond their making.
Now, political economy, the social structure including the propaganda of its social relations such as colonialism and its institutionalisation are the causes of crime. It is maintained by political and vigilante groups. They perpetuate stigma on crime to ensure folks on the lower socio-economic sectors are less successful in their pursue for betterment of their standards. And this ensures the lower socio-economic sector is cemented on a static cycle of Poverty, therefore crime.
You are not a criminal. You are a human being with mind, body and soul. Crime is a consequence of political and economic impositions of predominant tribal cultures upon society.