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War and Violent Crime - War And Rates Of Adult Crime

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In theory, war can directly or indirectly affect crime within states in a variety of ways. Some effects are immediate, some long term, and others may cancel each other out. Many of these explanations are indirect and tie into more general social scientific arguments, but some are specific to war.

For example, as noted above, wartime footing typically increases states' emphasis on security at the cost of civil rights. This jeopardizes the freedom of foreign nationals or ethnic groups sharing cultural connections with opponents. International hostilities may also legitimize ethnic violence, and perhaps violence in general, within countries, especially when a nation is occupied by foreign soldiers and a resistance movement is trying to discourage collaboration. War may also increase the number of offenses among nationals inasmuch as there are more rules to break and greater surveillance by the state. On the other hand, from a deterrence perspective, the increased centralization of state power, surveillance, and severity of sanctions should reduce illegal behavior, eventually lowering crime rates.

From an economic standpoint, wartime shortages and rationing can create conditions for crime in two ways. One is through increasing the proportion of the population without resources while at the same time intensifying the desperation of those who were already disadvantaged. The other is through the creation of black market economies. As with organized crime in peacetime, criminal violence may be required to enforce the illegal contracts of black marketeers, who, lacking police protection, may themselves be targets for robbery. On the other side, because of the external conflict, social solidarity and cooperation may be higher during war, with black market activity and associated crime rates minimal.

War and Violent Crime - Immediate And Long-term Effects [next] [back] War and Violent Crime - War Crimes Mala In Se

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